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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 February 2020

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 February 2020


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:  Social empowerment . 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.

1. The gender gap in the STEM sector has been snowballing in the past few decades. Critically examine the reasons behind such trend spatially and temporally. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

February 11 was celebrated as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the United Nations to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must critically examine the reasons behind the widening gender gap in the STEM sector and suggest solutions to overcome the same.

Directive:

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

Briefly explain key facts indicating the gender gap in the field of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Body:

According to a 2018 fact sheet prepared by UNESCO on women in science, just 28.8% of researchers are women. It defines researchers as “professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge”. In India, this drops to 13.9%. Highlight more such facts to substantiate the criticality of the gap. Discuss the underlying causes of it, such as –

  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in math scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared — when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to overcome the issue.

Introduction:

Science, technology, engineering, and medicine – together known as ‘STEM’ fields – suffer from lack of women, especially in India. In school exam results, we hear of how girls have outshone boys, but when it comes to those who take up research in later life, the number of women is minuscule. This means that many of our best brains that showed the maximum potential do not pick research as a career.

February 11 was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the United Nations to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. While some of the greatest scientists and mathematicians have been women, they remain under-represented in comparison to their male counterparts in higher studies involving science, as well as among the top scientific achievers.

Status of gender gap in the field of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

  • According to the 2018 UNESCO Institute for Statistics’ report on women in science, 44% of bachelor students and 41% of doctoral students in India are female.
  • Women face “double burden syndrome” – a culture where both men and women feel the family and household duties are primarily the woman’s responsibility.
  • According to a recent survey on Women in STEM, 81 per cent women in India perceive gender bias in performance evaluations.
  • While more women are enrolling in university, relatively few pursue careers in research.
  • The ideal fraction of 50% of female students has not been achieved.
  • There is a drastic drop in the percentage of women from the doctoral level to the scientist/faculty position.
  • There is a “major paucity” of women at the senior-most administrative and policy making positions in scientific institutions.
  • Women showed a preference for arts; however, female enrolment in science streams rose from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
  • The report found that in over 620 institutes and universities, including IITs, NITs, ISRO, and DRDO, the presence of women was 20.0% among Scientific and Administrative Staff, 28.7% among Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 33.5% among PhD scholars.
  • In India, a 2016-17 NITI Aayog report compared female enrolment in various disciplines over five years, until 2015-16.
  • UNESCO data from 2014-16 show that only around 30% of female students select STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related fields in higher education.
  • Female enrolment is particularly low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).

Reasons for this gender gap:

  • When highly qualified women drop out of the workforce, it results in considerable depletion of national resources in science and technology.
  • Stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities.
  • Patriarchal society.
  • Women face bias when choosing a career.
  • Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
  • According to a recent Accenture research report, the gender pay gap in India is as high as 67 percent.
  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in math scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared — when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.

Government Initiatives

Vigyan Jyoti scheme

  • Announced in the 2017 budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • The scheme aim to arrange for girl students of classes 9, 10 and 11 meet women scientists, with the IITs and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.

Inspire-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge)

  • Attract talented young boys and girls to study science and pursue research as a career.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme

  • Launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2014.
  • Connect India’s elite institutes with local communities and address their developmental challenges with appropriate technological interventions.
  • Indo-US fellowship for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to participate in international collaborative research in premier institutions in America
  • Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) initiative
  • Bio-technology Career Advancement and Reorientation (Bio-Care) scheme.

Way Forward:

  • India will have the world’s youngest population by 2022 and the women of the country will play a definitive role in devising the country’s future.
  • It takes a multi-pronged approach to create meaningful, lasting changes in the retention of women in STEM fields.
  • Women’s participation in STEM should be encouraged from primary school level rather only in higher studies.
  • Awareness about gender inequality and its outcome has to be increased.
  • The community should be supportive and understanding of career prospects for women.
  • Changing mindsets and overcoming biases.
  • Companies can provide more internship opportunities for women and give STEM scholarships to meritorious yet economically backward girls.
  • Initiating a well-planned role model programme with successful women scientists.
  • Special fellowships for girl students securing top positions in university exams.
  • Reintegrate women who have taken mid-career breaks.
  • Closing the pay gap.
  • Government agencies, universities, and society must work together to ensure that women achieve their full potential.

Conclusion:

“The problem of entry of women in science is not uniform across disciplines. Interventions geared to popularising subjects such as Engineering or the Physical sciences or Chemistry among female students at the school level in both urban and rural areas might be helpful in changing mind-set.”

  

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

2. Without the requisite rules, regulations, and machinery in place, it is not surprising that the Lokpal has failed to meet expectations. Critically analyse the statement with respect to the functioning of Lokpal in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

More than six years after the Lokpal law received the President’s assent; the institution of the Lokpal is yet to play any significant role in tackling corruption in the country.  Thus the background of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the lacunae with respect to the ill-functioning of the office of Lokpal and suggest what needs to be done.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When 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:

Briefly explain the background of the coming of the office of Lokpal into existence.

Body:

A nationwide public campaign in 2011 demanding an independent anti-corruption ombudsman resulted in the passage of the Lokpal law in India. The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 had been enacted to ensure a prompt and fair investigation and prosecution, in cases of corruption against public servants. The Lokpal had been envisioned to be independent and was accorded a high stature and given extensive powers including the power to inquire, investigate and prosecute acts of corruption. Then explain the concerns involved – Delay in appointments, Government’s lack of intent, lack of Independence of the Lokpal etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way ahead; recommend steps that need to be taken to overcome the challenge.

Background:

  • A Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman who represents the public interest. The concept of an ombudsman is borrowed from Sweden.
  • Many repeated demands for such an ombudsman, many attempts were made at legislation, with Lokpal Bills introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2008, but none of these was passed.
  • It was four decades after the introduction of the first Bill that the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act was enacted in December 2013.
  • This was the fallout of a public movement for a Jan Lokpal Bill, initiated by activist Anna Hazare and others such as Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal.
  • The term “Lokpal” was coined by Dr. L.M.Singhvi in 1963.

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The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013:

  • The Act consists of setting up a team called Lokpal, headed by a chairperson and consisting of eight people
  • This committee will have the power to investigate people who might be acquiring money through corrupt means
  • All categories of public servants will be covered under Lokpal, including the Prime Minister, while the armed forces will be exempted.
  • The body will also have the power of confiscating property or assets acquired by corrupt means
  • One of the main powers of the Lokpal is that they can protect all the public servants who act as whistle-blowers
  • They also have a special Whistle Blowers Protection Act established for the same reason
  • Lokpal will also be given the power to conduct trials in a special court if they feel that the trial is of extreme importance
  • They can also fine people for false or inaccurate complaints
  • The fines can amount up to Rs 2 lakh
  • The Act also incorporates provisions for attachment and confiscation of property acquired by corrupt means, even while the prosecution is pending.

Functioning of Lokpal in India:

  • For more than five years, the chairperson and members of the Lokpal were not appointed.
  • The government claimed that since no one could be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) after the 2014 general election, the committee responsible for selecting members of the Lokpal could not be constituted.
  • This malady could have been easily remedied by either recognising the leader of the single largest party in Opposition in the Lok Sabha as the LoP, or by amending the Lokpal law to allow the leader of the largest Opposition party to be a member of the committee in the absence of a recognised LoP (this was done for the selection committee of the CBI Director). However, neither recourse was taken.
  • The chairperson and members of the Lokpal were appointed only in March 2019 after a contempt petition was filed in the Supreme Court following the failure of the government to comply with the 2017 ruling of the court to initiate the process of making appointments.
  • The four-member selection committee, having a preponderance of representatives of the ruling party with an inherent bias towards recommending candidates favoured by the government, selected the Chair and members of the Lokpal.
  • The manner in which the appointments were made raised doubts about the independence of the Lokpal even before it became operational.
  • Despite the fracas over appointments, many had hoped that once constituted, the Lokpal would nevertheless be a significant oversight body to check corruption and the arbitrary use of power by the government
  • More than 10 months later, however, evidence suggests that the Lokpal is a non-starter.
  • Till date, the government has not made rules prescribing the form for filing complaints to the Lokpal. The Central government has also failed to formulate rules regarding asset disclosure by public servants.
  • Regulations which the Lokpal was obligated to make under the law are yet to be made, including those specifying the manner and procedure of conducting preliminary inquiry and investigation.
  • The website of the Lokpal states that it scrutinised 1,065 complaints received till September 30, 2019 and disposed of 1,000. Since necessary procedures to operationalise the law are yet to be put in place, the legal veracity of the decisions of the Lokpal could potentially be challenged in a court of law.

The other issues associated:

  • The Act does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the PM relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • Also, complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of an inquiry and at least two-thirds of the members approve it.
  • Such an inquiry against the Prime Minister (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.
  • The Selection committee and the issue of Leader of Opposition is still lingering and the recent selection of Lokpal didn’t have the views of the opposition party, which is against democratic principles.
  • It can dismiss serving all India civil servants, a power only president has. It has authority over CBI officers on deputation.
  • With no additional resources, the power to dismiss a case as frivolous or false and fine the complainant.
  • Any alteration of it could lead to accumulation of power either with one of these or with lokpal itself.
  • The threat is further increased by the lack of accountability in presence of sweeping powers.
  • The lokpal bill attempts to alter the balance between three branches of government attained through years.
  • The establishment of Lokayukta and any appointment falls within the domain of the States.

Way forward:

  • There is a need for a mechanism that provides for simple, independent, speedy means of delivering justice by redressing the grievances of the people without succumbing to the clutches of the executive.
  • The issue of Leader of Opposition in the Selection committee must be resolved by amending the act.
  • The jurisdictions must be clear so that there is no overlap in the powers.
  • Any new piece of legislation even when implemented becomes lengthy and time consuming and stretched over years.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended the enacting of the Office of a Lokpal, convinced that such an institution was justified, not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of citizens, but also to instil public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery.
  • It is rightly said by Publius Cornelius Tecitus that “the more corrupt the state, the more laws”.

Conclusion:

Creation of the institution of Lokpal by forming its members to function has come up as a welcome step. But it shall function independent from any political influence so that a proper system of checks-and -balance is maintained in the federal and democratic system of India.

 

Topic:  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

3. Discuss the provisions available to resolve the problem of criminalization of politics in India and also suggest steps that need to be taken to address it more effectively. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why this question:

The Supreme Court on Thursday will pronounce its verdict on steps to be taken to address the problem of criminalization of politics. In its judgment, the court is expected to decide whether directions can be issued to political parties to deny tickets to candidates with criminal background.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the available provisions to decriminalize politics in the country and the steps that are yet to be taken in this direction.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Briefly explain what you understand by criminalization of politics.

Body:

Criminalization of Politics means that the criminals entering the politics and contesting elections and even getting elected to the Parliament and state legislature. Discuss the underlying causes of it. It takes place primarily because of the nexus between the criminals and some of the politicians. The criminals need the patronage of politicians occupying public offices to continue with their criminal activities and the politicians need the money and muscle power that the criminals can offer to the politicians to win elections. In course of time, the nexus led the criminals themselves to contest elections.          Present the case of India. Suggest key provisions that are yet to be put in place.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the need for cleansing politics of criminal influence has been flagged once again. The primary sacrifice at the altar of criminalization is that of governance, along with transparency and accountability. Expensive election campaigning favour candidates with strong financial background. Such candidates, when elected, seek to recover their expenses besides securing a corpus for the future election as quickly as possible, especially in the era of coalition governments with tenuous stability.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on steps to be taken to address the problem of criminalization of politics. In its judgment, the court is expected to decide whether directions can be issued to political parties to deny tickets to candidates with criminal background. The Election Commission of India (EC), during the hearing on January 24, acknowledged that the directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2018 to give publicity to the criminal antecedents of candidates contesting elections failed to yield the desired result of decriminalizing politics.

Criminalization of politics in India:-

  • 36% of incumbent MPs and MLAs have criminal cases registered against them.
  • Vohra Committee in 1993 and the second ARC report, 2008 recommend to cleanse politics. But still Criminalization of politics has been a matter of great concern.

Reasons why criminalization of politics still exists in India:

Corruption:

  • In every election political parties put up candidates with a criminal background.
  • Evident link between criminality and the probability of winning is further reinforced when winnability of a candidate is looked into. A candidate facing criminal charges is twice as likely to win as a clean candidate.

Vote Bank:

  • The political parties and independent candidates have astronomical expenditure for vote buying and other illegitimate purposes through these criminals.

Denial of Justice and Rule of Law:

  • Toothless laws against convicted criminals standing for elections further encourage this process. Under current law, only people who have been convicted at least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters.
  • Constitution does not specify what disqualifies an individual from contesting in an election to a legislature.
  • It is the Representation of People Act which specifies what can disqualify an individual from contesting an election. The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections

Lack of governance:

  • The root of the problem lies in the country’s poor governance capacity. .

Scarcity of state capacity:

  • The scarcity of state capacity is the reason for the public preferring ‘strongmen’ who can employ the required pulls and triggers to get things done.
  • Criminality, far from deterring voters, encourages them because it signals that the candidate is capable of fulfilling his promises and securing the interests of the constituency.
  • No political party is free of this problem. The use of muscle power along with money power is a weapon used by all political parties to maximize electoral gains.
  • With cases dragging in courts for years, a disqualification based on conviction becomes ineffective. Low conviction rates in such cases compounds the problem; voters don’t mind electing candidates facing criminal cases.
  • Voter behavior then emboldens political parties to give tickets to such candidates who can win an election on their ticket etc.

Provisions available to resolve the problem of criminalization of politics in India:

 RPA Criminalization of politics:

  • Currently, under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, lawmakers cannot contest elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.
  • Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections. The Lily Thomas case (2013), however, ended this unfair advantage.

SC’s Rulings:

  • Making it mandatory for candidates to submit an affidavit with full disclosure of criminal cases, if any, and details of their asset and income — were made mandatory by the judiciary.
  • The court made it mandatory for political parties and candidates themselves to make public disclosure through print and electronic media.
  • None of the Above (NOTA) option was also introduced by the judiciary in 2003.
  • In 2013, the apex court ruled that a sitting MP and MLA convicted of a jail term of two years or more would lose their seat in the legislature immediately.
  • The Supreme Court favoured the creation of special courts for expediting criminal cases involving politicians.
  • In 2017, it asked the Centre to frame a scheme to appoint special courts to exclusively try cases against politicians, and for political parties to publicize pending criminal cases faced by their candidates in 2018.

Measures taken:-

  • Protecting the parliamentary system from criminalisation has been the intention of the law from the beginning. Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections but not from holding positions of seniority within a political party.
  • Under the present law, the minimum bar of a politician from election is eight years (two years of minimum imprisonment followed by six years of ban).
  • But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections. The Lily Thomas case (2013), however, ended this unfair advantage.
  • SC has repeatedly expressed concern about the purity of legislatures. In2002, it made it obligatory for all candidates to file an affidavit before the returning officer, disclosing criminal cases pending against them.
  • The famous order to introduce NOTA was intended to make political parties think before giving tickets to the tainted.
  • In landmark judgment of March 2014, the SC accepted the urgent need for cleansing politics of criminalisation and directed all subordinate courts to decide on cases involving legislators within a year, or give reasons for not doing so to the chief justice of the high court.
  • In Ramesh Dalal Vs UoI 2005, members of legislature shall also be subjected to disqualification if on the day of filing his nomination paper he stands convicted in the court of law.

EC measures:-

  • Model Code of Conduct: These are guidelines issued by ECI at election time which should be followed by political parties and candidates fighting an election.
  • In 1997 the ECI directed the Returning Officer to reject the nomination papers of any candidates if on the day of filling nomination paper he stands convicted in a court of law even if his sentence is suspended
  • Election Commission also kept into account the need to exclude criminals from politics:
  • It has suggested debarring candidates facing serious criminal charges in 2015. But it will include only:
  • Only heinous offences like murder, dacoity, rape, kidnapping or moral turpitude.
  • The case should have been registered at least a year before the elections.
  • The court must have framed the charges.

Steps that need to be taken to address it more effectively:-

  • Law panel report bats for using the time of the framing of charges to initiate disqualification as an appropriate measure to curb the criminalization of politics.
  • Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted.
  • The RPA Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
  • Bringing greater transparency in campaign financing is going to make it less attractive for political parties to involve gangsters
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties, or political parties’ finances should be brought under the right to information (RTI) law
  • Broader governance will have to improve for voters to reduce the reliance on criminal politicians.
  • Fast-track courts are necessary because politicians are able to delay the judicial process and serve for decades before prosecution.
  • The Election Commission must take adequate measures to break the nexus between the criminals and the politicians.
  • The forms prescribed by the Election Commission for candidates disclosing their convictions, cases pending in courts and so on in their nomination papers is a step in the right direction if it applied properly.

Conclusion:

While judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.

 

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

4.Discuss the indispensability of a strong relation between India and Sri Lanka. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s official visit to India.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the indispensability of a strong relation between India and Sri Lanka despite odds and the strains that the two countries faced in the past.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Briefly explain the background of relationship between the two countries.

Body:

Trace the relationship over a timeline from past to present. Discuss the avenues that the two countries have for each other, where they can manifest a strong bilateral relationship. Explain the challenges involved. Suggest what steps are being taken by the government of India to ensure better and stronger ties between the two countries.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2,500 years old. Both countries have a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction.  In recent years, the relationship has been marked by close contacts at all levels. Trade and investment have grown and there is cooperation in the fields of development, education, culture and defence.

Historical and Cultural Relations

  • The ties between both the countries are very old. 70% of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhist and Emperor Ashoka’s son Mahinda who took Buddhism to Sri Lanka. For many matters in terms of Buddhism we find excellent records in Sri Lanka.
  • Large number of tourists especially Buddhists visit
  • Even during freedom struggle there was close cooperation between Sri Lankan leaders and Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru.

Recent developments:

  • Air connectivity to Sri Lanka’s north and east is already being improved — there is a flight from India to Jaffna, and another one being proposed for Batticaloa.
  • Both countries discussed intelligence sharing, training and the utilisation of a special $50-million Line of Credit extended by India after last year’s Easter Sunday bombings.
  • India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are expected to revive their trilateral on security, including joint maritime security talks and anti-terror cooperation.
  • Rajapaksa reaffirmed his belief that among Sri Lanka’s friendships, India is seen as a “relative”, given their history and culture.
  • Rajapaksa has ruled out taking forward the MoU signed by his predecessor Ranil Wickremesinghe allowing Indian participation in energy and infrastructure projects in Trincomalee; an Indian stake in “Mattala airport” is not on the cards either.
  • However, of note is his appeal for India to help Sri Lanka deal with its debt crisis — nearly $60-billion outstanding in foreign and domestic, and about $5-billion a year in repayments.

Indispensability of a strong relation between India and Sri Lanka:

Diplomatic Cooperation:

  • Diplomatic relations between India and Sri Lanka are marked by visits of high level Government functionaries.
  • A notable diplomatic event in the recent past was our Indian Prime Minister’s address to the Sri Lankan parliament in 2015
  • India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission was established in 1992. The commission facilitates discussions relating to bilateral affairs of both the countries
  • India and Sri Lanka signed a civilian nuclear energy deal in 2015. The agreement aims at cooperation to explore nuclear energy for peaceful purposes

Economic Cooperation:

  • India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2010. India is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner
  • India is the source of one of the largest foreign direct investments in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is also a potential source of foreign investment in India

Defence and Security Cooperation:

  • Colombo and New Delhi have long history of security cooperation. In recent years, the two sides have steadily increased their military-to-military relationship.
  • India and Sri Lanka conducts joint Military (‘Mitra Shakti’) and Naval exercise (SLINEX).
  • India also provides defence training to Sri Lankan forces.
  • A trilateral maritime security cooperation agreement was signed by India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives to improve surveillance, anti-piracy operations and reducing maritime pollution in Indian Ocean Region.
  • In April 2019, India and Sri Lanka also concluded agreement on countering Drug and human trafficking.
  • In the aftermath of the horrific Easter bombings, Sri Lankan Prime Minister thanked the Indian government for all the “help” given.
  • The alerts issued by Indian agencies before the attacks had warned specifically about the use of radicalised suicide bombers attacking churches and the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Development Assistance:

  • The war between Sri Lankan Government and LTTE came to an end in 2009. The armed conflict led to many casualties and internal displacement
  • As an immediate response India provided all war relief measures including food, medicine etc.
  • As a long term measure, India announced reconstruction of 50000 houses to provide shelter to Internally Displaced People (IDP).
  • India is one of the largest provider of development credit to Sri Lanka. As of 2016, a total of USD 1284 million has been provided by India. The credit is mostly provided for the Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development
  • India has provided medical equipment and ambulances to hospitals in Sri Lanka

Cultural and Educational Cooperation:

  • India and Sri Lanka signed a cultural cooperation agreement back in 1977
  • India Sri Lanka foundation was setup in 1998. It aims at technical, scientific, cultural and educational cooperation by engaging civil society organizations of both the countries
  • India cultural centre in Colombo promotes Indian culture by providing courses in Indian music, dance, yoga etc.,
  • India provides scholarships to qualified Sri Lankan students in Undergraduate and research studies
  • Tourism is one of the important areas of cooperation. Sri Lankan tourists are one of the top ten visitors to India
  • Sri Lanka is also a partner in Nalanda university project of India
  • India and Sri Lanka commemorated the 2600th year of the attainment of enlightenment by Lord Buddha (Sambuddhathva Jayanthi) through joint activities.
  • The two Governments also celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala in 2014.
  • The People of Indian Origin (PIOs) comprise Sindhis, Gujaratis, Memons, Parsis, Malayalis and Telugu speaking persons who have settled down in Sri Lanka and are engaged in various business ventures.
  • Government of India formally launched the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) scheme for Sri Lankan tourists on 14 April 2015 to increase the people to people contact.

Significance of the relations:

  • India shares a common cultural and security space with the countries in the South Asian region especially Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region as an island State has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to several major powers.
  • As a prominent Asian nation with critical national interests in South Asia, India has a special responsibility to ensure peace and stability in its closest neighbourhood.
  • India should shed its big brother image and actively take part to rebuild the war-torn country.
  • India needs the support of Sri Lanka to emerge as a Blue water navy in the Indian Ocean and also in pursuing the permanent membership in United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • China’s string of pearl’s strategy is aimed at encircling India to establish dominance in the Indian Ocean.
  • Post 2015, Sri Lanka still relies heavily on China for Port city project and for continuation of Chinese funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lanka’s location can thus serve both commercial and industrial purposes and be used as a military base.

Way forward:

  • As both countries have a democratic setup there is scope for broadening and deepening the ties.
  • Both countries should try to work out a permanent solution to the issue of fishermen through bilateral engagements.
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) must be signed to improve the economic cooperation between both countries.
  • India needs to focus more on its traditional and cultural ties to improve relations with Sri Lanka.
  • Starting of ferry services between India and Sri Lanka can improve people to people linkages.
  • Mutual recognition of each other’s concerns and interests can improve the relationship between both countries.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5. India needs more podiums like the National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition, to democratize innovation for ideas with great prospective societal impact. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: Financial Express

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the fact that India needs more platforms like the National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition, which democratizes innovation access for ideas with large potential societal impact

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of innovation and entrepreneurship platforms in the country to foster the same for greater societal impact.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the need for innovation.

Body:

Discuss that India is home to the third-largest congregation of startups, after the US, and China. This infectious spirit of innovation is permeating everywhere. Unlike any other time in India’s recent history, multitudes are endeavoring to create bottom-up science-based solutions to our challenges. The need for nationwide ideas platforms to support innovators is paramount. Highlight the significance of platforms like National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC). Take hints from the article and explain the significance of entrepreneurship to the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India is home to the third-largest congregation of startups, after the US, and China. This infectious spirit of innovation is permeating everywhere. Unlike any other time in India’s recent history, multitudes are endeavouring to create bottom-up science-based solutions to our challenges. The need for nationwide ideas platforms to support innovators is paramount.

National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC)

  • India’s biggest deep science ideas platform that has succeeded in reaching 34 of 36 states/UTs—including Andaman and Nicobar—is the National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition (NBEC).
  • It is a joint initiative by BIRAC (a research assistance non-profit established by the government’s department of biotechnology) and C-CAMP (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, India’s premier life sciences innovation hub).
  • NBEC has seen steady growth in three years, from 1,500+ registrants in 2017 to 2,000+ in 2018, and nearly 3,000 in 2019.
  • This phenomenal growth signifies the thirst for innovation in all corners of India and the lay Indian’s drive to solve societal challenges.
  • NBEC’s goal is to unlock bio-entrepreneurship talent all over India. Ideas are encouraged from all domains of life sciences, including healthcare, agriculture, food, nutraceuticals, environment, water, and animal health.
  • Participants develop diverse indigenous technologies and solutions, weighted toward impact, based on scientific fundamentals, and applications.

Why India needs more podiums like the National Bio-Entrepreneurship Competition:

  • The framework is designed such that competitors are judged solely on the merit of the idea and its societal impact
  • The core proposition is that if the idea is good and the ideator has the drive, supporting infrastructure can be provided through a network of innovation hubs, industry, and mentorship.
  • It is this idea-first framework that India must implement across other verticals like cybersecurity, energy, defence, urban design, health, and water management to unlock greater innovation-led entrepreneurship.
  • The value proposition lies in three broad areas—a robust framework that democratises innovation access, emphasis on ideas with national societal impact, and connecting innovators up the idea-to-market value chain.
  • While generating a good idea to solve a large-scale problem is hard, taking the idea up the idea-to-market value chain is even harder.
  • Many good ideas have ended up going nowhere for lack of access to the enabling ecosystem of industry and innovation hubs.
  • A unique feature of NBEC is that it doesn’t just end the day when winners are announced; it then serves as a launchpad for the competitors with the best ideas.
  • Not only the winners, but a bigger cohort of participants are invited to form partnerships with industry leaders, and innovation hubs to operationalise their concepts.
  • Carefully structured ideas platforms like NBEC serve as ideal vehicles to effect socio-economic impact at scale across India.
  • In particular, it translates deep science research from the lab to the market. Moreover, many parts of the world, like Africa, are in need of similar solutions.
  • With deep science ideas platforms, India can position itself as a sustainable solutions innovator, and provider.
  • The emphasis on democratizing access for innovators with ideas that have a large potential for societal impact has proved successful.

Success stories of winners:

  • The 2017 NBEC Ankur Seeds Prize winner FIB-SOL designs biodegradable nanofibre carriers that can carry the same active fertiliser dosage in a 5 g pouch as a 5 kg bag today, thereby reducing logistics costs by 1000x and increasing shelf life by 2x. This solution simultaneously revolutionises the agriculture, fertiliser, environmental, and energy sectors.
  • The 2018 NBEC Biocon Excellence Prize winner Module has miniaturised UTI detection into a credit card-sized test platform that can detect four major UTI pathogens in 30-60 minutes, compared to the 24-48 hours it takes today in a laboratory setup, at a fraction of the cost, thereby opening up affordable healthcare access to millions in rural India and elsewhere.
  • The 2019 WIN Foundations Prize winner AlchemeRobotics provides a robotic solution to help the otherwise thankless job of manual scavenging through septic tanks, solving a massive health hazard and modernising an industry long overdue.

Conclusion:

With India in nation-building mode, we need models to enable our innovation talent, and support them to develop game-changing ideas. While NBEC focuses on innovative ideas in the bio-agri-health network, the model can be effectively replicated for other deep science innovation fields like energy, defence, semiconductors, automobile design, and others where India must develop technological leadership to fuel industrial and economic growth.

India is aiming for $10 trillion GDP by 2030. A model that unlocks indigenous innovation talent, and integrates it with infrastructure, government, industry, and innovation hubs could well be the key driver to achieve this.

 

Topic:  Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6. Discuss the role of Social influence, peer-pressure in shaping behavior of a person. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the role of Social influence, peer-pressure in shaping behavior of a person.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss what you understand by peer pressure.

Body:

Peer pressure (or social pressure) is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudesvalues or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This can result in either a positive or negative effect, or both. Discuss the effect of social pressure on different sections of the society – children, adolescents, young and old. Explain the positives and negatives of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Susceptibility to social influence is associated with a host of negative outcomes during adolescence. However, emerging evidence implicates the role of peers and parents in adolescents’ positive and adaptive adjustment.

Introduction:

Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by others. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing. Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This can result in either a positive or negative effect, or both.

Role of Social influence in shaping behavior of a person:

Social influence is the change in behavior that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally. Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours. Thus, Persuasion is one form of social influence on attitude; in fact it represents the intersection of social thinking and social influence of everyday life. Growing concerns about the use of coercive and other manipulative psychological techniques underline the need to improve understanding of the ethics of social influence.

Persuasion:

  • Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours.
  • Persuasion can occur through appeals to reason or appeals to emotion. For example, school-based substance abuse prevention programs using the social influences model consistently produce better results than programs emphasizing only health information.

Compliance

  • Compliance is when an individual changes his or her behavior in response to an explicit or implicit request made by another person.
  • Compliance is often referred to as an active form of social influence in that it is usually intentionally initiated by a person.
  • It is also conceptualized as an external form of social influence in that its focus is a change in overt behavior.

Conformity:

  • Conformity refers to when people adjust their behaviours, attitudes, feelings, and/or beliefs to fit to a group norm.
  • Conformity is generally regarded as a passive form of influence in that members of the group do not actively attempt to influence others.
  • People merely observe the actions of group members and adjust their behaviours and/or views accordingly. The focus of conformity can be either external (overt behaviours) or internal (beliefs and feelings) in nature.
  • Main factor that influences conformity is social norms. Social norms are the expected behaviour within a specific culture or society.
  • Example: Treating all genders equally; Coming from a poor background, helps sensitive about the concerns of poor more than just studying their problems; If other officers are corrupt, then I it may tempt a honest officer also to be corrupt.

Obedience:

  • Obedience is a change in behavior as a result of a direct command from an authority figure.
  • Obedience is an active form of influence in that it is usually directly initiated by an authority figure and is typically external in that overt behaviours are generally the focus of commands.
  • Example: Respecting elders; an employee will follow the orders of his supervisors in order to please them.

Role of peer pressure in shaping behavior of a person:

  • Friendship. Among peers one can find friendship and acceptance, and share experiences that can build lasting bonds.
  • Positive examples. Peers set plenty of good examples for each other. Having peers who are committed to doing well in school or to doing their best in a sport can influence you to be more goal-oriented, too. Peers who are kind and loyal influence you to build these qualities in yourself.
  • Socializing: peer group gives you opportunities to try out new social skills. Getting to know lots of different people — such as classmates or teammates — gives you a chance to learn how to expand your circle of friends, build relationships, and work out differences.
  • Encouragement: Peers encourage to work hard to get the solo in the concert, help to study, listen and support you when you’re upset or troubled, and empathize with you when they’ve experienced similar difficulties.
  • New experiences. Peers might get you involved in clubs, sports, or religious groups. Your world would be far less rich without peers to encourage you try sushi for the first time, listen to a CD you’ve never heard before, or to offer moral support when you audition for the school play.
  • There has been considerable study regarding the effects of peer pressure on children and adolescents, and in popular discourse the term is mostly used in the contexts of those age groups. For children, the common themes for study regard their abilities for independent decision making; for adolescents, peer pressure’s relationship with sexual intercourse and substance abuse have been significantly researched.
  • Peer pressure can affect individuals of all ethnicity, genders and ages, however. Peer pressure has moved from strictly face-to-face interaction to digital interaction as well.
  • Peer pressure can help you to develop empathy: When you spend time worrying about what everyone else things about you, then a deeper awareness of your personal feelings begins to develop at the same time. This process will eventually help your social skills because interacting with other people is the easiest way to feel what it is like to be someone else.
  • It can help you to abandon negative habits: The best peer groups will work with you to start reducing the influence of your bad habits. If you are the person who is always late to events, then you would start to change this behavior when seeing your friends arriving on time – all of the time.
  • Peer pressure can help you to experience different cultures: Every family teaches their children different values based on the desires of the parents, guardians, grandparents, and others in authority. There are times when your folks might want to keep you away from certain elements of society because it could be harmful.

Conclusion:

Thus, there are many things that influence behaviour in people, whether that be their own beliefs and opinions or other people being around them at the time

 

Topic:  Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7. Discuss some of the key theories of Attitude formation. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is again straightforward and from the static portions of GS paper IV.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the key theories of Attitude formation.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

Briefly explain what you understand by attitude formation.

Body:

The body of the answer must explain – Theories of Attitude formation:

 (1) Classical/Pavlov conditioning

 (2) Instrumental / Operant learning

 (2) Observational learning

Discuss the theories in detail; explain how these theories can be applied in real life.

Explain the significance of formation of right attitude.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of attitude formation.

Introduction:

Attitudes are evaluations people make about objects, ideas, events, or other people. Attitudes can be positive or negative. Explicit attitudes are conscious beliefs that can guide decisions and behavior. Implicit attitudes are unconscious beliefs that can still influence decisions and behavior.

Example: If someone believes that smoking is unhealthy,she feels disgusted when people smoke around her, and avoids being in situations where people smoke.

Nature of attitude:-

  • Attitudes often result in and affect the behaviour or action of the people. Attitudes can lead to intended behaviour if there are no external interventions.
  • Attitudes constitute a psychological phenomenon which cannot be directly observed. However, an attitude can be observed indirectly by observing its consequences. For example, if a person is very regular in his job, we may infer that he likes his job very much.
  • Attitudes are gradually acquired over a period of time. The process of learning attitude starts right from childhood and continues throughout the life of a person. In the beginning the family members may have a greater impact on the attitude of a child.
  • Attitudes are evaluative statements, either favourable or unfavourable. When a person says he likes or dislikes something or somebody, an attitude is being expressed.
  • All people, irrespective of their status and intelligence hold attitudes.
  • An attitude may be unconsciously held. Most of our attitudes may be about those which we are not clearly aware. Prejudice furnishes a good example.

Theories of Attitude formation:

CLASSICAL CONDITIONING:

Classical conditioning is a form of attitude whereby a conditioned stimulus becomes associated with an unrelated unconditioned stimulus, in order to produce a behavioral response known as a conditioned response.

Examples of classical conditioning abound in everyday life. Imagine you have just finished your lunch and you are feeling satisfied. Then you see some sweet dish served on the adjoining table. This signals its taste in your mouth, and triggers the secretion of saliva. You feel like eating it. This is a conditioned response (CR). Consumers often purchase new products that are associated with a favourably viewed brand name. Their favourable attitude towards the brand name is frequently the result of repeated satisfaction with other products produced by the same company. The brand name is the unconditioned stimulus that, through repetition and positive reinforcement results in a favourable attitude (the unconditioned response). The idea of family branding is based on this form of attitude learning.

OPERANT/INSTRUMENTAL CONDITIONING:

This type of conditioning was first investigated by B.F. Skinner. Skinner studied occurrence of voluntary responses when an organism operates on the environment. He called them operants. Operants are those behaviours or responses, which are emitted by animals and human beings voluntarily and are under their control. The term operant is used because the organism operates on the environment. Conditioning of operant behaviour is called operant conditioning. Sometimes, attitudes follow the purchase & consumption of a product. A consumer may purchase a brand name product without having a prior attitude toward it because it is the only product of its kind available. Further consumers also make trial purchases of new brands from product categories in which they have little personal involvement. If they find the purchased brand to be satisfactory they are likely to develop a favourable attitude towards it.

OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING:

Earlier this form of attitude was called imitation. Bandura and his colleagues in a series of experimental studies investigated observational learning in detail. In this kind of learning, human beings learn social behaviours, therefore, it is sometimes called social learning. In many situations individuals do not know how to behave. They observe others and emulate their behaviour. This form of learning is called modeling.

Examples of observational learning abound in our social life. Fashion designers employ tall, pretty, and gracious young girls and tall, smart, and well-built young boys for popularising clothes of different designs and fabrics. People observe them on televised fashion shows and advertisements in magazines and newspapers. They imitate these models. Observing superiors and likeable persons and then emulating their behaviour in a novel social situation is a common experience.

Conclusion:

Neither the attitude nor the behavioral intent instrument, alone or together is effective in predicting the person’s actual behaviour if, it has not been designed carefully. Attitude is important because attitudes reflect past experience and shape future behaviour