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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1. Amidst the newly signed Bodo Agreement, there is a need to ensure that a Bodo solution does not create a non-Bodo problem. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam government and Bodo groups including the All Bodo Students’ Union and militant outfits signed an agreement on January 27, 2020. The article highlights the possible happenings thereafter.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed analysis of the striking of the Bodo agreement and the threats that it possibly poses at the non-Bodo people of Assam and what needs to be done to address the issue.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the coming of the Bodo accord.

Body:

Explain briefly the details of the accord that was recently signed. The new deal offers more hope than the earlier accords. Some of the most powerful factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland that had stayed away from the earlier agreements of 1993 and 2003 accords are now on board. Significantly, the stakeholders have agreed that the updated political arrangements would remain confined to the realm of wider autonomy within the State of Assam. The stakeholders have given up the demand for separate statehood and Union Territory. Then move onto explain the concerns involved – Social-political contestation, Concerns among the hill tribes, possible Ripple effect of the Bodo pact etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that there is a need to ensure that a Bodo solution does not create a non-Bodo problem.

Introduction:

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam government and Bodo groups including the All Bodo Students’ Union and militant outfits signed an agreement on January 27, New Delhi’s third attempt at conflict resolution after the 1993 and 2003 accords.  The agreement involves clauses to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), in Assam. BTAD is spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri. The BTAD and other areas mentioned under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

Body:

The new deal offers more hope than the earlier accords; some of the most potent factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland that had stayed away from earlier agreements are now on board. The accord will successfully bring together leading stakeholders under one framework. It will further protect and popularise the unique culture of the Bodo people and will give them access to a wide range of development-oriented initiatives.

        However, there are challenges posed by the accord:

  • The third peace accord with the Bodos threatens to intensify the sociopolitical contestation among groups in the State not just in the expanded area, which will be renamed as Bodoland Territorial Region, but also regions where the so-called Scheduled Hill Tribes reside in large numbers.
  • While greater contiguity of Bodo-populated areas would aid more efficient governance in the Sixth Schedule administrative unit, it has deepened insecurity among other groups such as Koch Rajbongshis, Adivasis and Muslims in the existing Bodoland Territorial Area Districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
  • The agreement stipulates that Bodos living in the hill areas outside the BTAD will be conferred Scheduled Tribe (Hills) status, something that has not gone down well with tribes such as the Karbis.
  • Militant group Karbi Longri and North Cachar Hills Liberation Front (KLNLF), which signed a ceasefire with the Centre in 2009, has also opposed the move saying it would adversely impact the “identity of the Karbis”.
  • While political configurations at the State level will not be largely altered because of the measure in the five Assembly seats of the hill districts, elections to the local autonomous tribal councils in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, which also enjoy Sixth Schedule protections, could witness realignments.
  • The impending Naga peace accord, in the works in its latest iteration since 2015, could also spur a demand for territorial and administrative rights in the Naga territories of Manipur even as the dominant Meiteis of the valley push their own agenda of inclusion in the ST category.

Conclusion:

A peaceful accord like the Bodo agreement will set a precedent for the impending issues like Nagas, naxalism etc. This should be complemented with peace talks with the militant group, promoting economic development and ensuring rehabilitation of the insurgents to provide an efficient long-term solution to the insurgency problems.

 

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

2.  What is Blue dot Network? How will it benefit India amidst evolving Indo-Pacific strategies of the US? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

Amidst the high pitched visit of Trump to India, roars of India joining the US-led Blue Dot Network (BDN) is in the news again.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of Blue dot Network and its possible benefits to India amidst the changing Indo-Pacific strategies of the US.

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 concept of Blue dot Network.

Body:

The BDN was formally announced on 4th November, 2019 at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. It will be led by the US along with Japan and Australia. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative to bring together governments, the private sector and civil society to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development. It is expected to serve as a globally recognized evaluation and certification system for roads, ports and bridges with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. Discuss the possible benefits it can bring to India, explain challenges involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Blue Dot network is “a multi-stakeholder initiative to bring together governments, the private sector and civil society to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development”. It has been jointly launched by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

Body:

Blue_dot

With China moving to expand its strategic footprint through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), India and the US will discuss the Blue Dot network, a new proposal to cover infrastructure and development projects across the region and other countries. According to American officials, the Blue Dot network is like a “Michelin Guide”, which rates restaurants around the world with stars for excellence, for infrastructure projects.

Benefits of Blue dot network for India:

  • It will act as a globally recognized seal of approval for major infrastructure projects, letting people know the projects are sustainable and not exploitative.
  • It seems to be planned as a direct counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, unlike the BRI, the BDN would not offer public funds or loans for the project.
  • BDN will serve as a globally recognized seal of approval for major infrastructure projects, letting people know that projects are sustainable and not exploitative.
  • It is expected to serve as a globally recognised evaluation and certification system for roads, ports and bridges with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Instead of trying to match China’s scale of spending, the US through Blue Dot Network is arguing that the quality of investments in infrastructure is just as important as the quantity.
  • The new Blue Dot Network, therefore, is best seen as part of the U.S.A.’s strategy of trying to persuade developing countries in Asia-Pacific not rely on Chinese funds for infrastructure.
  • Once fully up and running, the new network will bring together governments, the private sector and other organizations behind a set of high-quality global infrastructure development standards.

Conclusion:

The initiative will evaluate projects on various parameters, including level of public consultation, transparency in funding, debt traps and basic environment norms. Projects that meet the norms will get a “blue dot”, which will enable them to attract private funding and not have to depend on state-funding alone.

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

3. Research and Development (R&D) plays a critical role in determining the productivity and economic growth of a nation, Discuss the relevance of harnessing private sector investments to improve the spendings on R and D in the country.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

In an effort to stimulate investment in research and development (R&D), the Department of Science and Technology is mooting a fund that will match the contributions made by private companies in R&D. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance and relevance of harnessing private sector investments to improve the spendings on R&D.

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:

Explain the Research and Development investments scenario in India.

Body:

Highlight the present situation of low expenditures in the R&D sector. Substantiate with suitable facts such as – The total expenditure on R&D in India has tripled in the last decade in nominal terms. However, as a fraction of GDP, public expenditures on R&D have been stagnant over the years. It is between 0.6-0.7percent of GDP over the past two decades. Discuss the public sector dominance in the sector. Explain what is the present idea of harnessing the private sector investments for betterment of the R&D sector.

Conclusion:

Conclude with benefits of such policies and assert the significance of R&D for the growth and development of the country.

Introduction:

According to Economic survey 2017-18, India’s spending on R&D in terms of percentage of GDP has been stagnant at 0.6 to 0.7 per cent in the last two decades — much lower than the US, China, South Korea and Israel. Private investments in R&D have severely lagged public investments in India, it said. In most countries, the private sector carries out most of the R&D. However, in India, the government is not just the primary source of R&D funding but also a primary user of these funds.

Body:

Research_Bill

Relevance of harnessing private sector investments to improve the spendings on R&D in the country:

  • Key drivers of economic performance and social well-being
  • It is important to inculcate scientific temper among masses in order to fight superstitions, distorted truth and religious fanaticism that has been crippling India
  • Innovation and technological improvement has become essential to combat and adapt to climate change and promote sustainable development,
  • It is imperative for combating national security threats ranging from cyber ware to autonomous military systems such as drones.
  • Investing in research and providing adequate incentives leads to creation of jobs, especially for the pool of engineers and researchers in the society.
  • Under the ‘Make in India’ program, the government has targeted to create 100 million jobs from the manufacturing sector by 2022.

Measures needed:

  • The private sector should be incentivised to undertake and support R&D through CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds.
  • State governments should also invest in application-oriented research aimed at problems specific to their economies and populations.
  • There is a need to encourage investor-led research. In this direction, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has already been established. It is a promising start that needs to expand with more resources and creative governance structures.
  • R & D should focus on technology and extension services that is directly related to common people
  • Engage private sector, state government and Indian Diaspora

Conclusion:

Investing in educating youth in science and mathematics, reform the way R&D is conducted, engage the private sector and the Indian diaspora, and take a more mission-driven approach is the need of the hour in India. Vigorous efforts to improve the “ease of doing business” need to be matched by similar ones to boost the “ease of doing science.”

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

4. In what way will India’s plans at UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) help in sustainable management and conservation of migratory species? Give details.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article explains How India’s proposals at UN event can help elephants, migratory birds.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of such proposals made by our country that can help in sustainable management and conservation of migratory species.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the fact that – 13th Conference of the Parties to the CMS (CMS COP13), is under way in Gandhinagar, with “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home” as its theme.

Body:

Detail about the conventions in general first – CMS is a treaty agreed by 129 countries plus the European Union, and functions under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It works for protection and conservation of species that migrate across frontiers and are facing threats of extinction or require urgent attention. Explain what the convention aims to do. Then briefly explain Why do migratory species need special attention for conservation? List out the intended actions by India on this front – India has proposed inclusion of the three species on Appendix-I of the Convention. Appendix-I lists species threatened with extinction, while Appendix-II lists those in need of global cooperation for favorable conservation status. If listed on Appendix-I, it would facilitate trans-boundary conservation efforts of the species.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such measures.

Introduction:

Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) is a treaty agreed by 129 countries plus the European Union, and functions under the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It works for protection and conservation of species that migrate across frontiers and are facing threats of extinction or require urgent attention. The 13th Conference of the Parties to the CMS (CMS COP13), which is under way in Gandhinagar, with “Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home” as its theme.

Body:  

India’s plans:

  • India has proposed inclusion of the three species- great Indian bustard, Asian elephant and Bengal florican– on Appendix-I of the Convention.
  • Appendix-I lists species threatened with extinction, while Appendix-II lists those in need of global cooperation for favourable conservation status.
  • If listed on Appendix-I, it would facilitate trans-boundary conservation efforts of these species.
  • India has also invited the COP13 to adopt the ‘Gandhinagar Declaration’ urging the world community to strive for ensuring ecological connectivity, especially for sustainable management and conservation of migratory species.
  • The proposals cleared the first hurdle when they were adopted unanimously by the conference’s committee of the whole.
  • However, Pakistan, which is the other range country of the great Indian bustard, did not take part in the discussion on the proposals.

India’s plans at CMS will help in sustainable management:

  • Listing generally leads to concerted actions in different national jurisdictions in which a species ranges.
  • Actions may include cooperation among range countries, harmonisation in policies etc through regional agreements.
  • CMS has working groups specialising in various fauna families, and a Scientific Council that advises research-based solutions for conservation.
  • Many countries started shifting towards renewable energy by building infrastructure like wind turbines, power transmission lines, solar parks; these pose risks to wildlife.
  • CMS set up in 2014 an Energy Task Force; it advises contracting parties on how to keep their energy projects wildlife-friendly.
  • Despite the listing and consequent efforts, 73% of 175 migratory species on Appendix-I and 48% of the 518 on Appendix-II have an overall decreasing population trend, CMS says.

Conclusion:

Besides the three species, proposals have been moved for including seven others — jaguar, urial, little bustard, antipodean albatross, oceanic white-tip shark, smooth hammerhead shark and tope shark — for listing on CMS Appendices. COP13 also discussed marine noise pollution, plastic pollution, light pollution, insect decline etc.

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Topic:  Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

5. Pulses consumption in India is showing signs of flattening explain the possible underlying causes and suggest measures to address the issue. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The question is premised on the article by Veteran agriculture economist Ashok Gulati wherein he explains stagnant consumption trend in both milk and pulses is largely due to incomes, which aren’t rising as before.

Key demand of the question:

One must examine the underlying factors responsible for this food consumption alarm that raises alert about Indians consuming less pulses and milk. Also suggest measures to tackle the issue and address it with suitable and relevant measures.

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:

State key facts brought out by the economist in the article.

Body:

Start by explaining the underlying causes of the issue – With rising income, the consumption of milk, pulses, eggs and meat had increased, especially among the poor. Flattening demand growth for protein-rich foods suggests incomes aren’t raising as before, lack of branding for pulses etc. Take cues from the article and suggest what measures should be taken to overcome this challenge, parellely highlight the ill-effects of such a situation. Suggest solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to urgently address the issue.

Introduction:

The National Statistical Office (NSO) withheld its household consumption expenditure survey report for 2017-18 but alternative data sources do suggest a slowdown in the pulses consumption in India. Flattening demand growth for protein-rich foods suggests incomes aren’t rising as before.

Body:

Trends in pulses consumption:

  • Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, it rose from 18.6 million tonnes (mt) to 22.5 mt, but fell to 22.1 mt in 2018-19 and is projected to further decline to 20.7 mt this year. Some of that may be attributable to prices.
  • Thus, 2015-16 and 2016-17 recorded a consumption drop alongside double-digit dal inflation.
  • The peak consumption in 2017-18 was when prices actually dipped 20.8 per cent year-on-year.
  • The link between consumption and inflation, however, breaks down from 2018-19.

Flat_Pulse

Causes for reduction in pulses consumption:

  • There was a perception which gained ground that pulses are expensive.
  • Vegetables also turned relatively cheap and consumers started having more of them in place of dal.
  • Egg has benefitted from branding, which is lacking in pulses.
  • Data from successive annual reports of the National Dairy Development Board shows that total liquid milk marketing by cooperatives — they account for the bulk of sales in this segment — has gone up from 201.03 lakh litres per day (LLPD) in 2008-09 to 294.44 LLPD in 2013-14.
  • The average annual growth of wages in rural India during 2014-15 to 2018-19 was only 5.3 per cent in nominal terms and 0.6 per cent after adjusting for consumer inflation of 4.7 per cent.

Measures needed to increase pulses consumption:

  • There is a need for National Egg Coordination Committee-like body for pulses to push consumption.
  • The campaign they launched in the 1980s helped in positioning egg as a wholesome nutrition food.
  • The time has come for a similar sustained drive promoting pulses as an excellent source of protein, micronutrients and fibre that is also low-fat and cholesterol-free.
  • New research efforts should be initiated to achieve a breakthrough in the productivity.
  • Innovative ideas need to be implemented instead of conducting routine research and material evaluation.
  • Scientists to work for development of shorter duration, widely adaptable and biotic and abiotic stress resistant varieties to boost the production of pulses.
  • Modernization of pulse breeding programme, supporting genetic gains through transgenic technology, enhancing biological nitrogen fixation through development of super nodulating plant types and breeding short duration varieties for achieving self-sufficiency in pulses.
  • Extension workers and agriculture technology information centers should work more towards development and dissemination of newer technologies

Conclusion:

The important role that pulses can play in sustainable crop production systems, in particular through their contribution to improved soil fertility and to agro-biodiversity along with providing a balanced and healthy diet as evidenced by their use by the World Food Programme and other food aid initiatives makes it a naturally optimal choice.

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

6. The Gandhian philosophy of ‘enemylessness’ are often the roots of Moral courage and conviction. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The Author in the article highlights the irony that at a time when we are celebrating Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the campuses of higher education have witnessed an escalation of violence and conflicts and in what way Gandhian philosophy in particular, is immensely helpful in such a time of polarization.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance Gandhian philosophy of ‘enemylessness’ and how it contributes to Moral courage and conviction.

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 what it meant for Mahatma Gandhi to be ‘enemyless’.

Body:

Explain how Gandhi believed in the fact that – A touch of forgiveness, a few gentle words of affection and empathy, and an undying belief in communication with compassion with the others can make a huge difference. Apply this philosophy to today’s times and situations like the violence and outrages happening at the college campuses and ascertain the significance. Define moral courage and conviction; establish how these are related to the Gandhian understanding of ‘enemylessness’.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of the contributions of such great leaders.

Introduction:

Gandhian philosophy of enemylessness refers to the state where anger, hatred and hierarchy dissolve to create a more compassionate ecosystem of living.

Body:

Enemylessness is the root of moral courage and conviction:

  • The “enemylessness” of Gandhi offers enormous possibilities for individuals in these turbulent times.
  • A touch of forgiveness, a few gentle words of affection and empathy, and an undying belief in communication with compassion can make a huge difference in society.
  • Once enemyless, it provides a landscape of a society which is tolerant of diverse ideologies and political philosophies.
  • It helps one to engage and reach out to people who carry contrary opinions with warmth and gentleness and not with arrogant epistemic violence

Lessons of enemylessness from life of Gandhiji:

Gandhi was not about binaries. He was for the rural, but not against the urban. He was for the poor, but not against the rich. In Gandhi, there was no notion of an enemy or the other. He transcended these mundane binaries by taking a more universal-humanistic view of the pragmatic and egotist considerations of his time. Many think, for example, that Gandhi was against modern technology. That he extolled the virtues of “tradition”. This is where people miss the larger point. In Hind Swaraj, he does indeed argue against the dominance of technology. But that was not to dismiss the humane use of technology. He was critiquing the overbearing dominance of technology in organising human life, which would make humans slaves of technology.

Conclusion:

        Thus, enemylessness helps in building a peaceful and friendly society.

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7. Analyse John Rawls’s concept of social justice in the Indian context. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question has been asked in 2016 Civil services examination conducted by UPSC.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must analyse in detail the concept of social Justice as propounded by John Rawls.  

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain in what way the theory attempts to solve the problem of distributive justice.

Body:

Start by highlighting the basic premise of the theory. Explain the fact that Rawls derives two principles of Justice: the liberty principle and the difference principle. Elucidate upon the concept in detail. Highlight the application of the theory using suitable illustrations to enhance the quality of your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of the theory and its usability even in today’s time.

Introduction:

John Rawl’s concept of social justice gives emphasis to fairness, it must be fair to all, to the most talented as well as the most disadvantage section.

       Body:

    Rawl’s proposes a thought experiment where the individual is behind the ‘veil of ignorance’. He assumes humans as rational negotiators unaware of others talents. He concludes that the nature of society to be established would give priority to the following in lexical order.

  • Maximum Personal liberty
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Difference principle

Rawl’s believes that humans would incorporate the difference principle for the benefit of disadvantaged section for the fear that he might fall in the category of least advantaged.

        In the Indian context the positive discrimination in favour of certain disadvantaged sections can be considered as the incorporation of the third principle of Rawl.

This concept in India context finds following applications

  • Reservation Issue: That whether demand some high castes to get reservation is valid or not. We can also look any amendment in present reservation policy according to it.
  • Environment to maintain balance between biodiversity and development. For example, increase in area of eco-sensitive zones.
  • Economy issues like increase in FDI, monetary policy or even present demonetization issue can be examined though spectrum Rawls’concept.
  • Traditions: We can also examine and introspect various traditional practices and customs like Jallikattu, entry of women in certain temples or religious places etc.

Conclusion:

In India too we have given maximum liberty and equality of opportunity for free enterprise. However, we have provided a slew of welfare programmes as a safety net for the disadvantaged sections to protect them. Moreover, the Indian constitution has provided for reservation to equalize the differences, and attempted to undo the historic injustices meted out to certain communities. The constitution has favoured to establish an egalitarian society instead a meritocratic society.