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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 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:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

1.Despite the unsolved tension between Israelis and Palestinians the defining war is a broader struggle among multiple players seeking regional hegemony. Thus, is it right to say that New West Asia today is rife with small state, non-state actors pitted against each other? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

More than half a century ago, when analysts talked about war in the Middle East, they referred to a single overarching and permanent tension which existed between Israel and Arab countries like Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Today, in the new Middle East — and despite the unsolved tension between Israelis and Palestinians — the defining war is a broader struggle among multiple players seeking regional hegemony. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the changed scenario in the west Asia and in what way it is today at rife with small state, non-state actors pitted against each other.

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 the implied meaning of New West Asia.

Body:

  • Explain in detail how there are there are fractious groups of militias, religious groups and tribal forces that exercise power in much of the region.
  • These groups have grown vastly in the past 20 years, and many of them have been and continue to be financed and controlled by Iran and Saudi Arabia
  • As a result, contemporary West Asia has been shifting constantly between state actors (Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Israel) and non-state actors (the militia groups and local forces) that actually controlled much of the land.
  • At times, non-state actors like the Hezbollah of Lebanon have been more influential than the national governments.
  • Take hints from the article and present your viewpoints.

Conclusion:

Conclude that understanding the geopolitics of the new Middle East is the key to the entire situation.

Introduction

West Asia is a region of multiple power centers with state and non-state actors competing for hegemony. The unresolved Israel-Palestine conflict is only a part of the broader power struggle. The landscape is majorly tripolar, with Israel being the Jewish State carved out by colonial powers, Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab world and Iran as regional leader of Shiite demography. Turkey, Syria and Iraq are equally strong contenders.  Non state actors such as Hamas in the Gaza strip, Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon are influential proxies, while the region is also home to Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.

Body

Israel-Palestine Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, primarily as a conflict over territory. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land was divided into three parts: The State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.

The 1993 Oslo Accords mediated the conflict, to set up a framework for two state solution. It  recognized the Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, the tensions in West Asia goes beyond this conflict.

Multiple players and the Power Struggle amongst State and Non state Actors

  • Saudi Arabia is engaged in a fierce competition with Iran for influence in the Persian Gulf and wider West Asia. The JCPOA or Iran nuclear deal was seen by Saudi as a threat, ultimately scrapped by USA, which is a close ally of Saudi Arabia.
  • Iran: Post the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iranians have lived under threats and with a huge sense of insecurity, which prompted them to create networks of influence across the region. Iran’s pre-eminence in proxy wars was born out of the Iran-Iraq war.
  • The Saudi-Iranian rivalry is being played out across the region, from Syria to Yemen.
  • While Iran is pro-government in Syria, Saudi has assisted the rebels against Tehran and Moscow by supplying arms.
  • Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with Iranian support, have been locked in a devastating power struggle for several years with the country’s internationally recognized government, backed by Saudi Arabia.
  • Turkey, which retreated from West Asia in the second half of the 19th century, is now shifting its focus back from Europe to the region.
  • It is a major defence and economic partner of Qatar, and has a strong presence in Syria through its proxies.
  • Turkey also used the Kasogi murder to turn up heat on Saudi Arabia internationally.
  • While Turkey is not aligned with Iran either, mutual interests such as the Kurdistan issue and the Syrian conflict have led to their rapprochement— while its ties with Saudi Arabia have steadily deteriorated.
  • Israel’s steady expansion into the West Bank and its settlements have made two state solution difficult. The recent Peace Plan in West Asia released by USA is heavily tilted in the favour of TelAviv.
  • The Arab countries do not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation.
  • Iran is a potential challenger to Israel’s nuclear monopoly in West Asia.
  • Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah are suspected of carrying out attacks against Israeli positions on the borders to Syria and Lebanon.
  • Israel-Syria relations are constrained since 1948 further deteriorated by six-day war in 1967 and Yom Kippur war in 1973. Israel continues to occupy Golan Heights from Syria.
  • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) remains a viable threat as it is reconstituting its networks and waging a low-level campaign of political assassinations, ambushes, and guerrilla warfare-style attacks.

 Conclusion:

Thus the West Asian landscape has been touted as a landmine. India’s foreign policy in West Asia is considered a success for maneuvering this complicated network of relations. There is a multidirectional competition and confrontation between the state and non-state actors in West Asia. This will be the defining factor of West Asian Geopolitics. 

 

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

2. Discuss the suggestions given in the Economic Survey 2020 to boost India’s economic growth. (250 words)

Reference: PIB

Why this question:

Recently the economic survey 2020-21 was released ahead of Budget proposals issued in the parliament.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significant suggestions made by the Economic Survey 2020 to boost India’s economic growth.

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 that the Economic Survey suggested that the government must use its strong mandate to deliver expeditiously on reforms which will enable the economy to strongly rebound in 2020-21.

Body:

Highlight that The survey said the economy is set to revive in the second half of 2019- 20 mainly on account of ten positive factors. Discuss the suggestions given in the survey in detail. There isn’t much to deliberate; students must list down the suggestions that are key to economic growth of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the survey projected FY21 growth of 6-6.5% may prove to be optimistic unless backed by a strong fiscal stimulus in the budget and the meeting of investment targets specified in the National Infrastructure Pipeline, both by The central and state governments.

Introduction

The Economic Survey 2020 noted that, with India’s record of growth with macroeconomic stability over the last five years (annual average growth rate of 7.5 per cent and annual average inflation of 4.5 per cent), the economy is poised for a rebound towards the US$ 5 trillion goal by 2024-25. The Economic Survey posits that India’s growth can rebound to 6-6.5% through stronger structural reforms in Agriculture, Industry and Infrastructure.

Body

Economic Survey: Boosting India’s Economic Growth

  • The survey held that India’s aspiration to become a $5 trillion economy depends critically on:
  • Strengthening the invisible hand of the market.
  • Supporting it with the hand of trust.
  • Ethical Wealth:
    • The Survey highlights the importance of ethical wealth creation for the growth and economic development of India.
    • The role played by the market in creating that ethical wealth and enabling environment of trust by the government is needed for those markets to thrive.
    • The Survey stressed upon “trust as a public good that gets enhanced with greater use”. Economic activity can proper with high trust. This is possible through following ways.
    • Reducing information asymmetry through standardizing enforcement systems and public databases thus empowering transparency.
    • Enhancing quality of supervision through significant enhancement in the quantity and quality of manpower in our regulators (CCI, RBI, SEBI, IBBI)
    • Investments in technology and analytics needs to be made.
  • Entrepreneurship:
    • Secondly, India’s economic growth will boost through “Entrepreneurship as a strategy to fuel productivity growth and wealth creation”.
    • A 10 percent increase in registration of new firms in a district yields a 1.8 % increase in Gross Domestic District Product (GDDP).
    • Literacy and education in a district foster local entrepreneurship significantly.
    • Its impact is most pronounced when literacy is above 70 per cent.
    • Physical infrastructure quality in the district influences new firm creation significantly. g.: The government has recently announced Rs 102 lakh crore NIP National Infrastructure Pipeline in the next 5 years
  • Pro-Business Vs Pro-crony:
    • Promoting ‘pro-business’ policy that unleashes the power of competitive markets to generate wealth. Weaning away from ‘pro-crony’ policy that may favour specific private interests, especially powerful incumbents.
    • Liberalization enabled ‘creative destruction’ by empowering markets. The accelerating growth (estimated by CAGR) of stock market (captured through S&P BSE Sensex) provides an evidence of this.
    • Post 1991, every five years, one-third of Sensex firms are churned out, reflecting the continuous influx of new firms, products and technologies into the economy.
    • Survey suggests that, Government must systematically examine areas of non-essential intervention. Eliminating such instances will enable competitive markets spurring investments and economic growth.
  • Specializing exports:
    • By integrating “Assemble in India for the world” into Make in India, India can:
    • Raise its export market share to about 3.5 % by 2025 and 6 % by 2030.
    • Create 4 crore well-paid jobs by 2025 and 8 crores by 2030.
    • Specialization at large scale in labour-intensive sectors, especially network products. Laser-like focus on enabling assembling operations at mammoth scale in network products
    • Ease of doing business: There is a jump of 79 positions to 63 in 2019 from 142 in 2014 in World Bank’s EODB rankings. Need for efficiency is highlighted by the survey.
    • g.: Logistical process efficiency can increase exports. Bengaluru KIA export import handling of electronics (6 hours) is better than Hong Kong (7 hours).
  • Banking Sector:
    • A large economy needs an efficient banking sector to support its growth.
    • The onus of supporting the economy falls on the PSBs accounting for 70 % of the market share in Indian banking.
    • Creation of a GSTN type entity that will aggregate data from all PSBs and use technologies like big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning in credit decisions for ensuring better screening and monitoring of borrowers, especially the large ones.
  • NBFC sector:
    • NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) play an important role in promoting inclusive growth in the country.
    • They often take lead role in providing innovative financial services to MSMEs, provide a fillip to transportation, employment generation, wealth creation, bank credit in rural segments and to support financially weaker sections of the society.
    • Survey highlighted the key drivers of Rollover Risk of the shadow banking system as mainly Asset Liability Management (ALM) Risk (E.g.: As in IL&FS crisis), Over-dependence on short-term wholesale funding. This needs rectification through a Health Score which provides early warning signals.
  • Privatization and Wealth Creation:
    • This is done through aggressive disinvestment targets.
    • According to Survey, privatization increases profitability, promotes efficiency, increases competitiveness and promotes professionalism. E.g.: HPCL disinvestment led to an increase of around Rs. 33,000 crores in national wealth.
  • Thalinomics:
    • The optimism of economic growth rebound is based on the price movement in India.
    • Thalinomics suggests that affordability of vegetarian Thalis improved 29 % and Affordability of non-vegetarian Thalis improved by 18 % between 2006-07 to 2019-20.

      Conclusion

India’s macroeconomic credentials remain strong. Although India’s GDP growth moderated to 4.8 % in H1 of 2019-20, there has been accretion of forex reserves, Impressive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), narrowing of CAB to 1.5% in H1 of 2019-20. Considering the above factors, the economic survey highlights that expeditious delivery on reforms is necessary, for enabling the economy to strongly rebound in 2020-21.

 

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

3. There was hope that the recently proposed Budget would increase allocations in various sectors, and in turn would trigger demand but the numbers do not seem promising, Give your opinion and analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The 2020 Budget was presented against the background of slowing economy, poor investment climate, declining consumption demand and stagnant exports. Thus the question aims to analyse if the Budget proposed is promising on these fronts or not.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss critically the Budget proposals and in what way they lack promises in terms triggering demand in the economy.

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 the current case of the Budget proposals.

Body:

  • The 2020 Budget was presented against the background of slowing economy, poor investment climate, declining consumption demand and stagnant exports.
  • The steady deceleration in growth, which registered at 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of the current fiscal — the lowest in the last 26 quarters — presented a challenge as well as an opportunity.
  • Monetary policy, by reducing the repo rate by 135 basis points since January last year, has traversed quite a distance.

Discuss what the expectations were from the budget and why the budget somewhere failed to touch upon those points.

Conclusion:

Conclude that it seems the wait for a rescue of the slowing economy has become longer, however proposals and policies need to be steered in the right direction to bring the economy back on wheels.

Introduction

The Budget 2020-21 came amidst a slowing economic output of 4.5% and a slump in investment climate. This was augmented by challenges of COVID-19 epidemic and slowdown in the global economy.

Body:

Budgetary Allocations in 2020-21:

  • The budgetary allocation for capital expenditure for the current year, which is estimated at 1.7 per cent of GDP this year, is budgeted at 1.8 per cent in 2020-21. This is similar to past trends.
  • The main reasons for not increasing budgetary allocations are:
  • Nominal GDP growth was 7.5 per cent as against the estimated 12 per cent in the budget.
  • There was overestimation in the growth of tax revenue at 18.3 per cent over the pre-actuals of the previous year.
  • The corporate tax cuts also amounts to a revenue foregone amounting ₹1.45 lakh crore per year
  • Slippage in achieving the disinvestment target of Rs 1.03 lakh crore.

Budget remains Unpromising:

  • Fiscal Deficit:
    • The fiscal deficit slipped to 3.8% which was more than the targeted number in Budget 2019-20.
    • The major concern is that the reported off budget financing is almost 0.85 per cent. This does not capture the bills and refunds payable by the government.
  • Major Sectors: Budget Analysis
  • Infrastructure:
    • Although NIP (national infrastructure pipeline) announced in December 2019 has Rs. 103 trillion outlay. Much of this will have to come from private sector.
    • The Transport infrastructure has a total allocation of 1.7 lakh crore.
  • Agriculture:
    • Budget focused on 16 action points on agriculture, irrigation and rural development and the Rs 2.83 lakh crore allocation is higher than the budget estimate for the previous year by just 2.5 per cent.
    • The allocation looks impressive only because there was a massive cut (Rs 26,000 crore) in the budget estimate over the revised estimate.
  • Health:
    • The health expenditure is yet to reach 2.5% as touted in the National Health Policy 2017.
    • There is a massive shortage of medical staff, infrastructure and last mile connectivity in rural areas. Eg: Doctor : Population 1:1800 and 78% doctors cater to urban India (population of 30%).
    • These remained unaddressed in the current budget
  • Social Sector:
    • MGNREGA has been cut from Rs 71,002 crore (RE) in the current year to Rs 61,500 crore in 2020-21.
    • This scheme has the potential to revive rural economy.
    • In previous fiscal year 2019-2020, all state’s exhausted their MGNREGA Budget.
    • PM-KISAN allocation remain same as last year.

However, the Budget is optimistic about growth revival and addresses many challenged faced by Indian Economy.

Promising aspects of Budget

  • Aspirational India – better standards of living with access to health, education and better jobs for all sections of the society
    • Agriculture
      • Blue Economy: Rs. 1 lakh crore fisheries’ exports to be achieved by 2024-25 and 200 lakh tonnes fish production targeted by 2022-23.
      • Kisan Rail: To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables
      • Kisan Udan: To be launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Both international and national routes to be covered.
      • Village Storage Scheme : Women, SHGs to regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi.
      • PM-KUSUM : 20 lakh farmers to be provided for setting up stand-alone solar pumps.
    • Health and wellness
      • Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to offer 2000 medicines and 300 surgicals in all districts by 2024
      • TB Harega Desh Jeetega campaign launched – commitment to end Tuberculosis by 2025.
      • Jal Jeevan Mission : Augmenting local water sources, recharging existing sources, and promoting water harvesting and de-salination.
    • Sanitation:
      • Commitment to ODF-Plus in order to sustain ODF behaviour.
      • Emphasis on liquid and grey water management.
    • Education
      • National Police University and National Forensic Science University proposed for policing science, forensic science, and cyber-forensics.
      • Ind-SAT proposed for Asian and African countries as a part of Study in India program
    • Economic Development for all – “Sabka Saath , Sabka Vikas , Sabka Vishwas”.
      • New scheme NIRVIK to be launched to achieve higher export credit disbursement, which provides for:

o Higher insurance coverage

o Reduction in premium for small exporters

o Simplified procedure for claim settlements.

  • National Logistics Policy : A single window e-logistics market to be created
  • 100 more airports under the UDAN scheme.
  • Taxpayer Charter to be enshrined in the Statute will bring fairness and efficiency in tax administration.
  • New Economy :
    • 6000 crore proposed for Bharatnet programme in 2020-21.
    • A digital platform to be promoted to facilitate seamless application and capture of IPRs
    • Mapping of India’s genetic landscape- Two new national level Science Schemes to be initiated to create a comprehensive database
  • Caring Society – both humane and compassionate;
    • Antyodaya as an article of faith.
    • 28, 600 crore proposed for women specific programs.
    • Enhanced allocation of Rs. 9,500 crore provided for 2020-21 for senior citizens and Divyang.

Conclusion:

Despite the slow economic growth, there are shoots of revival in the economy. The Budget will aid and augment Indian economy by boosting the demand with an aim to reach $5trillion by 2024. This will require the Centre and State to ensure effective devolution of funds at all levels for effective implementation of projects.

 

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

4. In the Indian polity, states cannot be reduced to mere administrative agencies delegated with enforcing Parliamentary laws without any application of mind. Critically analyze. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses that as of January 28, the Chief Ministers of at least 11 States have expressed their unwillingness to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC).Thus the question ponders to evaluate the relationship between centre and States and the federal character of the Indian polity.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of evolving new measures to foster cooperation between Union and state government on crucial constitutional issues.

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:

Give a brief introduction about the recent events that affected the state’s will in Implementing Union laws.

Body:

  • Discuss about the relevant constitutional provisions in this regard.
  • State the pros and cons of implementing parliament laws by states uniformly.
  • Suggest a suitable way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude that new measures should be evolved to foster cooperation between Union and state government on crucial constitutional issues.

Introduction:

India is a federal state where the Centre and the State are the Cooperating units of the polity. Yet India is an asymmetrical federalism, with the balance of power tilting in the favour of the Centre. Article 256 deals with Union-state relation and State’s obligation while Article 365 mandates the state governments to follow and implement the directions of the Central government. Changing dynamics of party system is shaping the trajectory of Federalism from cooperative to confrontationalist.

Body:

  • Provisions that favour the Union Government
    • Article 355 enjoins the Union to “… ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.
    • Example: When State governments raised concerns about the NPR, the Union insisted that States are under a constitutional duty to implement laws passed by Parliament.
    • Article 356 not a dead letter: Centre has the power to impose President’s rule under Article 356 if it’s laws are not complied by states.
    • Centrally sponsored Schemes: CSS is the biggest component of Central Assistance to state plans (CA), where states don’t have much flexibility.
    • Enforcement of International Treaties and Agreements. This provision enables the central government to fulfil its international obligations (Art. 253). The Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Parliament through the provisions of this particular article.
    • Article 200: Reservation of state Bills by Governor for President’s assent.
    • Article 256 mentions that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with laws made by Parliament and any existing laws, which apply in that state, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.

However, States are NOT mere administrative agencies

In the landmark S.R. Bommai judgment, Supreme Court said that States are not mere “appendages” of the Centre.

Legislative/Administrative

  • Separation of Power: Schedule 7 of Constitution provides strict delineation of powers between center and state. (Except during emergencies which comes under judicial review)
  • Article 131 of the Constitution, which gives the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases between states and the Centre. Eg: Chhattisgarh moved SC against NIA Act in Jan 2020.
  • Coalition governments: It has increased states’ bargaining power.

Financial

  • GST Council: Majority decisions have been based on consensus till now, while states gave 2/3rd of votes.
  • Since 10th FC, state’s share has been continuously increasing till 14th FC by devolving 42%.

       Other Areas

  • NITI Aayog: Replacing the erstwhile Planning Commission, the Aayog is promoting bottom-up approach to development planning.
  • Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas involves State’s as equal partners of development
  • There is a move towards competitive and cooperative

Measures needed:

  • Strengthening of Inter-State Council: Over the year multiple committees have recommended strengthening of Interstate Council where the concurrent list subjects can be debated and discussed, balancing Centre state powers. There is far less institutional space to settle inter-state frictions therefore a constitutional institution like ISC can be a way forward.
  • Autonomy to states: Centre should form model laws with enough space for states to maneuver. Centre should give enough budgetary support to states so as to avoid budgetary burden. There should be least interference in the state subjects.
  • Democratic Decentralization of administration and strengthening governments at all levels in true spirit. Power should be decentralized based on the principle of subsidiarity.

Conclusion:

While security concerns might warrant greater powers to the Union, on the development front (education, health etc.) the Centre should respect the autonomy of the other two levels of government and consciously avoid the tendency to centralize powers and functions. Its role should be limited in laying down policies, devolving funds and facilitating co-ordination leaving implementation entirely to States and Local Bodies. Implementation of Punchii Commission recommendations at the earliest is needed for unity of Centre and States.

 

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

5.India’s major power generator NTPC Ltd has raised ‘largest ever’ Samurai loan recently. In the light of this statement explain what is a Samurai loan? and where will the funds raised under it be used? (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

India’s largest power generator NTPC Ltd has raised a $750 million-worth term loan in Japanese yen, claiming it to be the “largest ever” Samurai loan raised by any Asian corporate. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of Samurai loans and their significance.

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:

Briefly explain what Samurai Loans are – Samurai loans allow non-Japanese firms to tap into the investment capital available in Japan and borrow funds in yen, which is among the currencies with the lowest interest rates.

Body:

Discuss in detail the concept – The cross border syndicated loan provides the borrower with capital to

either enter the Japanese market or the ability to convert the proceeds into

The firm’s local currency for use in existing operations.

  • The loan was raised under the automatic route of RBI’s External Commercial Borrowing regulations and has been fully underwritten by the State Bank of India in Tokyo, Sumimoto Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore and Bank of India, Tokyo.
  • The facility has a door-to-door maturity of 11 years — the period within which the amount would have to be paid back — under two tranches.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such tools.

Introduction

India’s largest power generator NTPC Ltd Monday said that it has raised a $750 million-worth term loan in Japanese yen, claiming it to be the “largest ever” Samurai loan raised by any Asian corporate. The funds raised would be used towards implementing systems that would help the state-owned power giant bring about a “substantial” reduction in toxic Sulphur oxide emissions.

Body:

Samurai loans are Yen-denominated Cross Border Syndicated Loan for non-Japanese borrowers. Their features include

  • Relatively low pricing (low interest) due to ample liquidity of Japanese investors and,
  • Their willingness to consider lending to unrated and/or unlisted borrowers from overseas.
  • Borrower is free to either enter the Japanese market or the ability to convert the proceeds into the firm’s local currency for use in existing operations.

Samurai Loans and India

Indian borrowers have raised a record US$2.21bn via 10 Samurai loans in 2019, eclipsing the US$1.6bn raised in 2018 from five deals, according to Refinitiv LPC data.

Examples

  • NTPC : In an endeavor towards sustainable and cleaner environment, NTPC would utilize these loan proceeds to fund capex for installation of Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD).
  • Telecom : Reliance Jio has raised 53.5 billion Japanese yen (approximately Rs 3,251 crore) in Samurai loans.
  • RECL had raised a bilateral five-year yen loan equivalent to $92.5 million from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and swapped it into rupees.

Significance of Samurai Loans

  • Dollar lender are turning cautious amid impending interest-rate hikes in the US.
  • Easy availability: Indian companies lured by Japan’s near-record low interest rates and easier availability of funds.
  • Cheaper Loans: Raising yen and swapping the funds to rupees was about 10 basis points cheaper than swapping from dollars to the Indian currency.
  • Lesser Risk : Risks associated with raising capital in Japanese yen can often be mitigated with cross-currency swaps and currency forwards.
  • Tapping and gaining exposure to Japanese markets and investors.

Conclusion

While Japanese capital is available, it is also discerning. Hence companies need to create robust business models, stable cash flow profiles and corporate governance standards that will satisfy Japanese investors. Over the next two decades, as India looks to create world class infrastructure, structures such as Samurai loans will be needed. As the infrastructure sector gradually recovers, capital structure innovation through channeling Japanese capital into attractive investment opportunities in the years to come will be a must. 

  • Modern computing devices are not safe when it comes to the issue of security vulnerabilities in technology use. Do you agree? Examine. (250 words)

Introduction

Jeff Bezos who is the founder of Amazon and world’s richest man became a victim of phone hacking, showcases that security vulnerabilities of modern devices and technology are ubiquitous in nature.

Body

Security Vulnerabilities and  Techniques to exploit them

  • Spyware: Pegasus, a spyware was in news and according to WhatsApp, the spyware was deployed on at least 1,400 targets, including lawyers, activists, dissidents and diplomats. The Pegasus spyware is also known to have been used against several Indian journalists and activists.
    • Sensitive information were extracted from the target users’ phone.
  • Denial of Service : Saposhi Malware is capable of taking over electronic devices and turning them into bots (device taken over by malware) which can then be used for any purpose, including DDoS attacks which, with enough firepower, can cripple entire industries.
    • It overloads the server, rendering it non-responsive.
  • Ransomwares : It is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access. Eg : WannaCry, Petya
    • This can have a serious harm to critical government infrastructure and it’s data security.
  • Hacking : It can occur through phishing, spam mails that mask virus as executables or exploiting a badly written code in the software
    • Eg : The Ring security system(camera) of Amazon was hacked in USA, and hackers used a racial slur on a child through the camera.
  • Using old Operating Systems : Eg : ATM’s with windows XP became vulnerable to network spoofing.

Steps to address these issues

  • At user-level
    • Basic Security Hygiene : Not visiting untrusted websites, installing untrusted third party applications or certificates, keeping device and application software updated is needed.
    • Using licensed software: Users must ensure pirated software are not used and also update latest security patches to their devices.
    • Non-disclosure of sensitive information: Awareness to ensure people are not deceived by unsrcupulous actors regarding confidential information. Eg: Bank Login, OTP, debit/credit card details.
    • Using trusted software: Users must not give unbridled access to phone’s content to suspicious apps.
    • Two-layer authentication: Strong passwords with OTP login can help secure devices, apps from unauthorized access.
  • At Government level: Initiatives
    • CERT-IN is the national nodal agency to respond in crisis situation.
    • CERT-fin has also been launched exclusively for financial sector.
    • CERT-in is also operating Cyber Swachhata Kendra, a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre
    • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space.
    • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative to strengthen Cybersecurity ecosystem in India. It is first public private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
    • National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) to scan internet traffic coming into the country and provide real time situational awareness and alert various security agencies.
    • Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata in collaboration with NASSCOM.

Conclusion:

Device Security must be enhanced through continuous research and development to create secure hardware and software. Meanwhile user awareness is equally necessary to prevent them from becoming victims of cybercrime.

 

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.

7. Discuss the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges. (250 words)

Reference: IDSA

Why this question:

The question aims to analyse different internal security threats arising from social media and social networking sites.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges of the country.

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 define what constitutes social media.

Body:

First highlight the fact that Media is considered as influential channel for effective communication. It supports in promoting the right things on proper time. It provides a real exposure to the mass viewers about right or wrong process.

Then move onto discuss the challenges that it poses.

Discuss Social media as a threat to national security; explain how it aids propogate fundamentalism, fake news etc.

Suggest how government should tackle these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward, suggesting suitable solutions.

Introduction:

Today the Media and Social media has created a borderless world while it’s reach is ubiquitous. Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry, such as print media, publishing, the news media, photography, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), and advertising. The term “social media” refers to internet-based applications that enable people to communicate and share resources and information. While they have enabled faster communication, there are many challenges associated with them as well.

Body

Role of Media

Media is considered as influential channel for effective communication. It is the fourth estate of democracy. Media helps the people to be aware about and develop a consensus upon important national and international development issues. It also helps them understand the various obstacles in the process of development. imbibing basic skills among the people.

Challenges to Internal Security

  • Unverified News: In recent times because of proliferation of news channels, dissemination of unverified news and one sided information by some unscrupulous news channels have emerged.
    • Such actions of media have negative impact on long term internal security.
  • The concept of breaking news have many a times detrimental effect on National Security. Amplifying the fear factor through news reporting, live telecast of sensitive information are some of the concern areas here.
    • For example, during the time of Mumbai terror attacks TV channels live telecasted operations by security forces.
  • Extreme focus on TRP has led to media highlighting divisive issues. This can lead to sectarian violence or communal riots.
  • This has also been aggravated by spread of social media which is taking the shape of public sourced media and also as a barometer of acceptance & popularity.
    • This has made media houses ignore objective reporting and playing to the tunes of masses who don’t have knowledge of long term ill-effects of such things.

Role of Social Media

There are more than 500 million internet users in India and today social media is not only a subset of internet rather the internet itself.

Challenges to Internal Security

  • Flash Crowds: The Spread of social media and cell phones has created the phenomenon of ‘flash crowds’.
    • Eg: Lynching, rioting based on rumours.
    • This was seen at the site of encounters in Kashmir Valley.
  • Propaganda: In addition, social-media platforms like face book, WhatsApp and you tube are being used to great advantage to carry out propaganda.
    • Burhan Wani, whose killing led to a bout of violence in the Kashmir valley was a creation of internet and facebook.
    • It is being used for promotion of violence, recruitment, incitement and radicalization.
    • It can instigate violence against communities as well.
  • Recruiting youth for Terror outfits: The ISIS recruited youth from Maldives, Bangladesh, United Kingdom to fight in the Syrian War, through social media.
    • Training is imparted through social-media for youth to carry out militancy.
    • Increasing IS sympathizers through pro-IS content distributed online.
  • Fake news with malicious intent: Manipulation through the social media allegedly spurred the mass exodus of north east Indians in Bangalore in 2012.
  • Money Laundering and organized crime are increasingly happening through online activity covertly.
    • Concept of Money Mules: Unsuspecting individuals are recruited as ‘money transfer agents’ (mules) to avoid high transaction charges or local taxes. This leads to wiring huge amounts from offshore accounts to the money mule.
  • Drug Peddling: The Dark Web is the hub of smuggling drugs illicitly.  The problem has exacerbated with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ripple, ethereum.
  • Other Challenges posed by social media
    • Accountability issues: Challenges with respect to fixing the liability of intermediaries. It is also difficult to trace the origin of fake news circulation.
    • Jurisdictional challenges: Complications in jurisdiction as Facebook, twitter etc. operate as subsidiaries of foreign internet companies with their servers located outside India.
    • Anonymity: Police officers have expressed concern over multiplicity of fake profiles. There is no accountability of a crime.
    • Encrypted Message: Use of whatsapp to send and receive messages, concerns the government because the communications sent via such devices and applications are encrypted.

Way Forward

  • Auto-filters: They must be put in place to detect and remove messages with violence, hatred and anti-nationalism.
  • Self-Regulation and enforcement: The media houses must evolve their own code of ethics and self-regulation mechanisms through which actions against those acting against the interest of the national security can be taken. If need be, stringent laws must be made.
  • Governments must also be proactive and must continuously provide immediate, accurate and reliable information so that public is not influenced by sensational and biased news reporting.
  • Proactive web monitoring: The Mumbai Police has launched a project called “Social Media Lab” to check explosive content on various platforms and quell fake news.
  • Initiatives such as ‘WhatsApp’s Checkpoint Tipline’, ‘The Logical Indian’ should create user awareness regarding fake news.
  • Crisis Protocols: Creating a crisis protocol for responding to emerging or active events, on an urgent basis, so relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed, and acted upon by all stakeholders with minimal delay.
  • Global cooperation: Christchurch Call of Action outlined voluntary commitments from governments, ISP’s to address issue of violent extremist content online. India is a signatory to this plan

Conclusion:

The press has always acted as a medium of communication between the public and the leaders. Social media add another dimension to the existing media by making the two-way channel of communication more efficient.

But, there is a need to overcome the Digital Anarchy to protect against internal security challenges. Developing a well-operated online intelligence network for intelligence sharing, joint online operations and database convergence to keep a check on social-media posts is the need of the hour.