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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 January 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:  Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Evaluate the impact of Central Asian contacts in moulding socio-cultural, political and economic life of ancient Indian society. (250 words)

INFlibNet

Why this question:

The question is to examine the impact of central Asian contacts on the Indian society.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the impact of central Asian contacts, their impact and effect on the Indian society from past to present.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain that Central Asian contacts led to the fusion of native culture with foreign culture which had impacts in all spheres of life such as moulding socio-cultural, political and economic lives.

Body:

In detail explain the impact of various features that affected our culture – Art, literature, architecture, pottery, Societal tensions and religion etc.

Discuss the political impact – the idea of Feudalism, kinship, clans etc.

Then explain the impact on economic life – New trade routes, introduction of gold coins, agriculture etc.

Conclusion:

With the entry of the foreigners intimate contacts were established between Central Asia and India. These foreign elements were later Indianized and thus enriching the native culture and society in myriad ways.

Introduction:

Indian society is living proof of the doctrine that culture is the attribute of a land and its people. Assimilation and synthesis have been the process of Indian civilization. Relations between India and Central Asia are ancient and civilisational. India has been connected closely with Central Asia through the Silk Route from circa 3rd century BC till 15th century AD when the sea route from Europe to India was discovered. This made the land journey unviable because it was more risky, longer in duration, more expensive and volumes of cargo that could be carried by sea-faring vessels were much larger than by caravans over the land route.

Body:

Impact on Economy

Agriculture and Trade

  • The coming of the Central Asian people established intimate contacts between Central Asia and India. India received a great fund of gold from the Altai mountains in Central Asia.
  • Gold may also have been received by it through trade with the Roman empire.
  • The Kushans controlled the Silk Route, which started from China and passed through their empire in Central Asia and Afghanistan to Iran, and western Asia which formed part of the Roman empire in the eastern Mediterranean zone.
  • This route was a source of substantial income for the Kushans, and they built a large prosperous empire on the strength of the tolls levied from traders.
  • It is significant that the Kushans were the first rulers in India to issue gold coins on a wide scale. The Kushans also promoted agriculture.
  • The earliest archaeological traces of large-scale irrigation in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and western Central Asia date to the Kushan period.

Impact on Polity

  • The Shakas and the Kushanas propagated the idea of the divine origin of kingship. The Kushan kings were called sons of god.
  • The Kushans introduced the satrap system of government in India.
  • The whole empire was divided into several satrapies and each satrapy was governed by a satrap.
  • The hereditary dual rule which includes two kings ruling in the same empire at the same time was introduced.
  • The practice of military governorship was also introduced by the Greeks.
  • The governors appointed by the Greeks were called Strategos. These were important to maintain the newly conquered areas.

Better Cavalry:

  • The Shakas and Kushans added new ingredients to Indian culture and enriched it immensely.
  • They settled in India for good and completely identified themselves with its culture.
  • As they did not have their own script, written language, or any organized religion, they adopted these components of culture from India and became an integral part of Indian society to which they contributed considerably.
  • They introduced better cavalry and the use of the riding horse on a large scale.
  • They popularized the use of reins and saddles, which appear in the Buddhist sculpture of the second and third centuries AD.
  • The Shakas and the Kushans were excellent horsemen.
  • Their passion for horsemanship is shown by numerous equestrian terracotta figures of Kushan times discovered from Begram in Afghanistan.
  • Some of these foreign horsemen were heavily armoured and fought with spears and lances.
  • Presumably they also used some form of toe stirrup made of rope which facilitated their movements.
  • The Shakas and Kushans introduced the turban, tunic, trousers, and heavy long coat.

Impact on Socio-Cultural life:

The Origin of Mahayana Buddhism:

  • Indian religions underwent changes in post-Maurya times partly due to a great leap in trade and artisanal activity and partly due to the large influx of people from Central Asia.
  • Buddhism was especially affected.
  • The monks and nuns could not afford to lose the cash donations from the growing body of traders and artisans concentrated in towns.
  • Large numbers of coins are found in the monastic areas of Nagarjunakonda in AP. Also, the Buddhists welcomed foreigners who were non-vegetarians.
  • This new form of Buddhism came to be called Mahayana or the Great Vehicle.
  • In the old puritan Buddhism, certain things associated with the Buddha were worshipped as his symbols.
  • These were replaced with his images at the time when the Christian era began.

Religious Developments:

  • Some rulers and others from Central Asia adopted Vaishnavism, which means the worship of Vishnu, the god of protection and preservation.
  • The Greek ambassador called Heliodorus set up a pillar in honour of Vasudeva at Besnagar near Vidisa (headquarters of Vidisa district) in MP around the middle of the second century BC.
  • A few other rulers adopted Buddhism.
  • The famous Greek ruler Menander became a Buddhist. The questions and the answers that he exchanged with the Buddhist teacher Nagasena, also called Nagarjuna, is a good source for the intellectual history of the post-Maurya period.
  • The Kushan rulers worshipped both Shiva and the Buddha, and the images of these two gods appeared on the Kushan coins.

Structures and Pottery:

  • The Shaka-Kushan phase saw a distinct advance in building activities. Excavations have revealed several layers of construction, sometimes over half a dozen, at various sites in north India.
  • In them we find the use of burnt bricks for flooring and tiles for both flooring and roofing.
  • However, the use of tiles may not have been adopted from outside. The period also saw the construction of brick-walls.
  • The characteristic pottery is red ware, both plain and polished, with medium to fine fabric. The distinctive pots are sprinklers and spouted channels.
  • They remind us of red pottery with thin fabric found in the same period in Kushan layers in Central Asia.
  • Red pottery techniques were widely known in Central Asia and are to be found even in regions such as Farghana which lay on the peripheries of the Kushan cultural zone.

Gandhara and Mathura Schools of Art:

  • The foreign princes became enthusiastic patrons of Indian art and literature, and displayed the zeal characteristic of new converts.
  • The Kushan empire brought together masons and other artisans trained in different schools and countries.
  • This gave rise to several schools of art: Central Asian, Gandhara, and Mathura. Pieces of sculpture from Central Asia show a synthesis of both local and Indian elements influenced by Buddhism.
  • Indian craftsmen came into contact with the Central Asians, Greeks, and Romans, especially in the north-western frontier of India in Gandhara.
  • This gave rise to a new form of art in which images of the Buddha were made in the Graeco-Roman style, and his hair fashioned in the Graeco- Roman style.
  • The influence of Gandhara art also spread to Mathura, which was primarily a centre of indigenous art.
  • Mathura produced beautiful images of the Buddha, but it is also famous for the headless erect statue of Kanishka whose name is inscribed at its lower end. It also produced several stone images of Vardhamana Mahavira.
  • During the same period, beautiful works of art were created at several places south of the Vindhyas.
  • Wonderful Buddhist caves were constructed out of rock in Maharashtra. In AP, Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati became great centres of Buddhist art, and stories associated with the Buddha were portrayed on numerous panels.

Literature

  • The Sanskrit literature was patronized by foreign princes.
  • The great writers such as Ashvaghosha were patronized by Kushans. Ashvaghosha was the author of Buddha charita and Saundarananda.
  • The Indian theatre was also enriched with Greek influence since the use of curtains was introduced by the Greeks.

Conclusion:

Thus the invasion and contact of central Asian princes impacted India in several spheres such as pottery, cavalry, literature, science and technology, religion and polity.

 

Topic:  Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. Present the philosophies of ‘Din-i-Ialhi’ and ‘Sulh-i Kul’ that embodied Akbar’s administration. How far do you think the present day communal tensions can be addressed through such inclusive religious practices? Explain.(250 words)

History of Medieval India class XI NCERT

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, and it aims to analyse the Philosophies of ‘Din-i-Ilahi’ and ‘Sulh-i Kul’ and its relevance as of today.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the Philosophies of ‘Din-i-Ilahi’ and ‘Sulh-i Kul’ and suggest their relevance to the society as of today.

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:

Explain that Akbar, ruler of most of South Asia in the 16th and early 17th century, rejected bigotry and made unprecedented moves to help non-Muslims feel at peace in his Mughal empire.

Body:

Discuss in detail the Philosophies of ‘Din-i-Ilahi’ and ‘Sulh-i Kul’-

Din-i-llahi:

The quest of Akbar culminated in the Tauhid-i-ialhi (the divine monotheism) or Din-i-Illahi, the word Din was applied decades later. In 1582, this religious doctrine which combined mysticism, philosophy and nature worship was

Propounded by Akbar which recognized no prophets. Akbar declared himself the spiritual guide of his subjects. His religion Tauhid-i-illahi favored peace and tolerance.

Then discuss the elements in detail.

Din-i-Illahi was an eclectic doctrine that contained elements from very diverse fields. It overthrew almost every ceremonial rule whether Islam or Muslim, but took the good ideas from the Brahmins as well as from the missionaries and adopted “Sun” as a symbol of the worship of the creator. He started a new Illahi era.

Then discuss the relevance of the two concepts to today’s society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such secular and tolerant policies.

Introduction:

Akbar’s religious policy of harmony, reconciliation, and synthesis among all the religions did not develop all of a sudden. He was a pious Muslim but after marrying Jodha Bai of Amber, he abolished pilgrim tax. In 1562, he abolished jiziya. Akbar took a deep personal interest in religious matters. He founded an academy, the Ibadat Khana, “the House of Worship,” in 1575, where representatives of all major faiths could meet to discuss questions of theology. Listening to these debates, Akbar concluded that no single religion captured the whole truth and that they instead should be combined.

Body:

Din-i-Ilahi

  • The “Divine Faith” in Persian, was an elite eclectic religious movement, which never numbered more than 19 adherents, formulated by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the late 16th century AD.
  • The Din-i Ilāhī was essentially an ethical system, prohibiting such sins as lust, sensuality, slander, and pride and enjoining the virtues of piety, prudence, abstinence, and kindness.
  • Some of the important principles of Din-i-Ilahi were:
    • God is great. He is One.
    • Akbar is His apostle or representative.
    • Every adherent of this faith should be willing to give away property, life, religion and honour to the emperor.
    • Every member should take an oath of doing good to everybody.
    • No member should have blind faith.
    • The followers of this faith should not approve of child marriage as well as old marriage.
    • All should show respect to all religions.
    • Whenever the followers of this faith meet, one should say: Allah- Hu-Akbar (God is great) and in reply the other should say Jalla-Jallah – hu (God is beautiful and merciful).
    • As far as possible, the followers of this religion should not eat meat.
  • The soul was encouraged to purify itself through yearning for God (a tenet of Sufism, Islamic mysticism), celibacy was condoned (as in Catholicism), and the slaughter of animals was forbidden (as in Jainism).
  • There were no sacred scriptures or a priestly hierarchy in the Din-i Ilāhī. In its ritual, it borrowed heavily from Zoroastrianism, making light (Sun and fire) an object of divine worship and reciting, as in Hinduism, the 1,000 Sanskrit names of the Sun.

Sulh-i-Kul:

  • Sulh-i Kul is an Arabic term literally meaning “peace with all,” “universal peace,” or “absolute peace, “drawn from a Sufi mystic principle.
  • As applied by Akbar, it described a peaceful and harmonious relationship among different religions. In keeping with efforts to mesh the diverse populations of his realm, Akbar proposed unity and peace among all human beings –sulh-i kul.
  • The concept implies not just tolerance, but also the sorts of balance, civility, respect, and compromise required to maintain harmony among a diverse population

Relevance in today’s world:

  • Today the religion and caste systems are dividing our society adversely. Instead of having several religions in our country, why not our country adopts one religion – Din-i Ilahi so that Hindu, Islam, Christian, Sikh…. everyone in the country would follow the same religion.
  • Din-i Ilahi can be promoted so that in near future India becomes a country of single, unified, tolerant religion where no religion can ever admonish the other.
  • No majoritarianism or minority appeasement will ever occur in politics and the religion would go totally irrelevant to politicians.
  • In the field of inter-faith dialogue, tolerance plays an important role in constructive interactions, so the concept of sulh-i kulh as great potential relevance to discussions of intercultural dialogue specifically, and cultural diversity more generally.
  • Sulh-i kul was invented to describe universal peace, specifically with regard to interfaith tolerance and equal treatment for all, regardless of religious beliefs.
  • Given continuing religious conflicts matched to the reality of cultural pluralism, it seems useful to resurrect this historic term as a modern tool.
  • The concept also has potential for discussions of such concrete contexts as managing a multicultural workforce

Conclusion:

According to Dr. Tara Chand, his religion was the product of the synthetic effect of the Vedanta and Sufism of the age.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3.  Analyse the Supreme Court’s latest decision on the Speaker as the adjudicating authority under the anti-defection law. How far is it justified?(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

In a recent judgment the Supreme Court ended Speakers’ freedom to do nothing in disqualification cases. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the pros and cons of such a judgment. Analyse how far it is justified.

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 mention the observations made by the Apex court.

Body:

Discuss the two aspects that are clear of the judgment.

The first is that Parliament should replace the Speaker with a “permanent tribunal” or external mechanism to render quick and impartial decisions on questions of defection. Few would disagree with the Court’s view that initial fears and doubts about whether Speakers would be impartial had come true. The second is its extraordinary ruling that the reference by another Bench, in 2016, of a key question to a Constitution Bench was itself unnecessary.

Take hints from the article and provide for a detailed analysis of the judgment.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

In an important order aimed at rearming the anti-defection law, the Supreme Court set three months as the outer limit for the Speaker to conclude disqualification proceedings against defectors. The apex court also wanted Parliament to revisit the rationale behind giving exclusive powers to the Speaker in deciding disqualification petitions. After all, the Speaker also belongs to a political party and often gets caught in the power games.

Body:

Finish_Proceedings

Supreme Court’s decision of Speaker’s Authority:

  • There are two significant aspects to the Supreme Court’s latest decision on the Speaker as the adjudicating authority under the anti-defection law.
  • The first is that Parliament should replace the Speaker with a “permanent tribunal” or external mechanism to render quick and impartial decisions on questions of defection.
  • Few would disagree with the Court’s view that initial fears and doubts about whether Speakers would be impartial had come true.
  • The second is its extraordinary ruling that the reference by another Bench, in 2016, of a key question to a Constitution Bench was itself unnecessary.
  • The question awaiting determination by a larger Bench is whether courts have the power to direct Speakers to decide petitions seeking disqualification within a fixed time frame.
  • The question had arisen because several presiding officers have allowed defectors to bolster the strength of ruling parties and even be sworn in Ministers by merely refraining from adjudicating on complaints against them.
  • Some States have seen enmasse defections soon after elections.
  • Secure in the belief that no court would question the delay in disposal of disqualification matters as long as the matter was pending before a Constitution Bench, Speakers have been wilfully failing to act as per law, thereby helping the ruling party, which invariably is the one that helped them get to the Chair.
  • It is time that Parliament have a rethink on whether disqualification petitions ought to be entrusted to a Speaker as a quasi-judicial authority when such Speaker continues to belong to a particular political party either de jure or de facto.

Landmark judgment in Kihoto Hollohan (1992) which upheld the validity of the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule:

  • This verdict had also made the Speaker’s order subject to judicial review on limited grounds.
  • It made it clear that the court’s jurisdiction would not come into play unless the Speaker passes an order, leaving no room for intervention prior to adjudication.
  • Finding several pending complaints before Speakers, the Bench, in 2016, decided that it was time for an authoritative verdict on whether Speakers can be directed to dispose of defection questions within a time frame.

Supreme Court directed till Independent Tribunal is brought, decide in 3 months:

  • However, for the present, the court said the Speakers should decide Tenth Schedule disqualifications within a “reasonable period”. What was ‘reasonable’ would depend on the facts of each case.
  • Unless there were “exceptional circumstances”, disqualification petitions under the Tenth Schedule should be decided by Speakers within three months.
  • The court noted that this period was ‘reasonable’, as the ordinary life of the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assemblies was merely five years.
  • Given the widespread abuse of provisions of the Anti-Defection Act in the country, it is time Parliament reflected on the matter and came up with an out-of-the-box solution.

Way forward:

  • The decision to disqualify a legislator is contingent on the institution of the Speaker.
  • The partisan role of the Speaker in many States has ensured the continuation of turncoat legislators as legitimate members of the House.
  • This is a good time to heed the advice of eminent constitutional experts to amend the anti-defection law and rest the authority to disqualify turncoats in the hands of an autonomous body.
  • As “failure to exercise jurisdiction” is a recognised stage at which the court can now intervene, the court has thus opened a window for judicial intervention in cases in which Speakers refuse to act.
  • This augurs well for the enforcement of the law against defection in letter and spirit.
  • While recommending that keeping in view the partisan conduct of Speakers, Parliament should amend the Constitution to set up a permanent tribunal to decide cases under the 10th Schedule.

 

Topic:  Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

4. The right to protest is a fundamental political right basic to our democratic society, Discuss in detail the provisions regarding the right to protest peacefully enshrined in the Indian Constitution.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article argues for the right to protest for the citizens. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the background of the context of the question, explain why

Right to protest is a fundamental political right basic to our democratic society and then the constitutional provisions relating to it.

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:

Describe the background of the question – Recently, there have been public protests in India against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the proposed National Register of Citizens.

Body:

Explain that the government’s handling of the protests has invited criticism from certain sections. The administrations have been blamed of arbitrary imposition of section 144.

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 authorizes  the Executive Magistrate of any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more people in an area.

Section 144 of CrPC generally prohibits public gathering.

Section 144 has been used in the past to impose restrictions as a means to prevent protests that can lead to unrest or riots.

The administration has defended its actions, as being preventive in nature and to avoid violence and damage to public property.

Discuss the significance of right to protest as a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward that the people opposing the CAA have the right to protest and express their opinions. The government needs to acknowledge the right to dissent and protest for all Indians. Notably, Article 19(1)(3) states that the rights are subject to “reasonable restrictions” in the interest of public order. There is the need to ensure there is no violence or damage to public property in the protests.

Introduction:

Public protests are the hallmark of a free, democratic society, whose logic demands that the voice of the people be heard by those in power. Recently, parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which gave rise to the massive protests by the people across states and students across universities. In order to participate in public protest, the right to freedom of speech & expression, association and peaceful assembly are necessary. The government’s handling of the protests has invited criticism from certain sections. The administrations have been blamed of arbitrary imposition of section 144.

Body:

Right to protest is a fundamental political right basic to our democratic society

  • Independence struggle:
    • The background of the Indian Constitution is formed by its anti-colonial struggle.
    • The Indian freedom struggle involved public expression of views against colonial policies and laws, demonstrations expressing dissent and shaping of public opinion against them.
    • The methods involved staging dharnas, holding large public meetings and demonstrations and even civil disobedience.
  • Post-Independence:
    • Potti Sreeramulu undertook a satyagraha demanding for the creation of a new Telugu-speaking state of Andhra.
    • The Chipko Movement led by Gaura Devi, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, was a people’s movement to save the trees in Uttarakhand. It was meant to prevent the then U.P. government from awarding contracts to commercial loggers.
  • Inclusive approach:
    • Street protests and demonstration movements are particularly important for those outside the mainstream, or those not educated formally.
    • They provide an opportunity for even the most illiterate and powerless person to show dissent. Street protests help involve many people in the movement.
    • Abraham Lincoln had once noted that “the right of the people to peaceably assemble is a constitutional substitute for revolution”.

Provisions regarding the right to protest peacefully enshrined in the Indian Constitution:

  • The Right to protest peacefully is enshrined in the Indian Constitution—Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the freedom of speech and expression; Article 19(1)(b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
  • Article 19(2) imposes reasonable restrictions on the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.
  • These reasonable restrictions are imposed in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
  • In Ramlila Maidan Incident v. Home Secretary, Union Of India & Ors. case (2012), the Supreme Court had stated, “Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.”

Concerns against Right to protest:

  • The right to protest, to publicly question and force the government to answer, is a fundamental political right of the people that flows directly from a democratic reading of Article 19. For this, the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are necessary.
  • The arbitrary restraint on the exercise of such rights by the imposition of Section 144 is a concern.
  • Section 144 is to be imposed in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger of events that has the potential to cause trouble or damage to human life or property thus limiting it to only emergency situations.
  • The arbitrary imposition of Sec 144 highlights the inability of the government to tolerate dissent.
  • It also reflects the incapacity of the government to discuss, deliberate or listen.

Way forward:

  • The Right of citizens to protest and gather peacefully without arms is a fundamental aspect of India’s democracy.
  • While it is also the obligation of the government to protect civilians from violent protests, certain essential principles need to be kept in mind.
  • The Right to protest is one of the core principles on which democracy survives and thrives.
  • Article 19(1)(3) states that the rights are subject to “reasonable restrictions” in the interest of public order. There is the need to ensure there is no violence or damage to public property in the protests.
  • However, when a protest turns violent, as seen in some places in recent protests, it defeats the very purpose of the protest.
  • While enjoying the rights, one must adhere to one’s duties and responsibilities in a democratic society.

 

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

5. Gram Sabha-based forest governance is quintessential to sustain management and conservation of forests along with implementation of community forest resource rights under the Forest Right Act of the country. Elucidate.(250 words)

Live Mint

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the role that Gram Sabhas have to play in managing and conserving forests in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in what way Gram Sabha-based forest governance is quintessential to sustain management and conservation of forests along with implementation of community forest resource rights under the Forest Right Act of the country.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give 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 highlight the importance of conserving our forests.

Body:

Discuss Role of Gram Sabhas in general.

Explain why they should be given importance in the governance of the forest areas.

More than 300 million people including tribals live in and around forest areas in India, depending on forests for their sustenance and livelihood. Ecological security is the prime objective of National Forest Policy, 1988, but forest-dwelling communities cannot be separated from forests.

Explain that Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and Forest Right Act, 2006 have gone further to empower gram Sabhas for the management of forest resources.

Take queues from the article and explain in detail the relevance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and reassert that The gram Sabha-based forest governance has to be implemented in a large way to maintain sustainability of forests and improve their quality.

Introduction:

There are more than 300 million people including tribals live in and around forest areas in India, depending on forests for their sustenance and livelihood. Ecological security is the prime objective of National Forest Policy, 1988, but forest-dwelling communities cannot be separated from forests.

Body:

Laws that empower gram sabhas for the management of forest resources:

  • The 73rd Constitutional amendment act provided importance to such institutions for resource management.
  • Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
  • Forest Right Act, 2006

Importance of Gram Sabha-based forest governance:

  • India’s Constitution places trust in village-level institutions for conservation of forest resources.
  • Gram Sabha ensures that the locals have a direct say in matters related to them thus devolving power at the grass root level
  • The involvement of communities in forest management was initiated in 1990 through joint forest management institutions—a government-driven programme which did not achieve the objective of involvement of people in decision-making for sustainable forest management.
  • Tribals have been residing in the forest for years, so the local community best know how the area around them can be developed but sustainably
  • Over one million hectares of forests are managed by gram sabhas in eight states—Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan.
  • Their knowledge about traditional use of forest produce as medicines can be harnessed for the benefit of all.
  • Gram sabhas can potentially administer governance of more than 34 million hectare of forests.
  • By demanding for their forest rights they in effect act as a check on reckless deforestation in name of development
  • The Union ministry of tribal affairs has taken the initiative to conduct research for the development of models of forest governance based on gram sabhas.

Challenges faced by Gram Sabhas:

  • There are no guidelines with respect to the management of community forest resources by gram sabhas.
  • There are examples when some gram sabhas have shown both authority and responsibility, including when mining projects in Odisha were stopped by the gram sabha to save forests and livelihood.
  • the present system of so many committees for the natural resource management at village level, including Joint Forest Management Committee, Biological Diversity Management Committee, Watershed Management Committee, and Forest Right Committee, is creating confusion.
  • The opinions and recommendations given by the Gram Sabha regarding the sustainable use of forest resources are side-lined by the government
  • The tribal communities routinely face existential threat by losing onto their land to development projects

Way forward:

  • The supremacy of the gram sabha must be maintained while preparing governance models under the umbrella of national and state government policies, regulations and judicial orders.
  • The bureaucracy must share authority with gram sabhas and the state forest department must perform the regulatory and monitoring role.
  • There is need to have one committee which can have separate sub-committees for the management of forests and biodiversity.
  • The gram sabha can maintain three bank accounts—operating account for implementing government schemes, core account for revenue received through sale of forest produce, and biodiversity account for receiving money for allowing access benefit sharing of bio-resources utilized by industry.
  • The gram sabha-based forest governance has to be implemented in a large way to maintain sustainability of forests and improve their quality, along with implementation of community forest resource rights under the Forest Right Act, 2006.

 

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

6. Explain why the crisis engulfing nature matters for business and the economies of the world countries? Analyse in the backdrop of recently released nature risk rising report by World Economic Forum (WEF). (250 words)

India Times

Why this question:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released a report titled Nature Risk Rising, the first in the series of New Nature Economy (NNE) reports. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the findings of the report; discuss why nature matters to the economies and business of the world. Highlight their importance.

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:

Start with the fact that The World Economic Forum is launching a series of New Nature Economy (NNE) reports in 2020, making the business and economic case for safeguarding nature.

Body:

Discuss the details of the report and its key findings – The series of reports is being developed under the umbrella of the Nature Action Agenda (NAA), a platform for committed actors to catalyze public-private momentum in the run-up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 – in Kunming, China, in October 2020.

The report explains how nature-related risks matter to business and why they must be urgently mainstreamed into risk management strategies.

Key findings:

  • Around $44 trillion of economic value generation – more than half of the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services and is therefore exposed to nature loss.
  • Together, the three largest sectors that are highly dependent on nature generate close to $8 trillion of gross value added (GVA): construction ($4 trillion); agriculture ($2.5 trillion); and food and beverages ($1.4 trillion), the report says.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the report.

Introduction:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with PwC released a report titled “Nature Risk Rising: Why the Crisis Engulfing Nature Matters for Business and the Economy”. The report is the 1st in a series for the New Nature Economy(NNE). As per the report, global businesses are more than dependent on nature with an estimated exposure of $44 trillion which is half of world GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Body:

Crisis engulfing nature matters for business and the economies of the world countries because:

  • Threat to plants & animals:
    • 25% of the assessed plant & animal species are in threat due to human actions. Nearly a million species are to face extinction within decades. Human activities have severely altered 75% of land and 66% of marine environments too.
  • Nature dependent industries:
    • Many countries are nature dependent industries. Among them, the 3 largest industries dependent on nature are Construction ($ 4 trillion), agriculture ($ 2.5 trillion) and food and beverages ($ 1.4 trillion). Their combined value is twice the size of Germany’s economy.
    • China, the EU (European Union) and the United States(US) have the highest absolute economic value in nature dependent industries generating $2.7 trillion, $2.4 trillion and $2.1 trillion respectively.
  • Resources relied on by industries:
    • 163 industry sectors have analysed that the GDP is highly dependent on nature and its services. Pollination, water quality and disease control are three examples of the services provided by an ecosystem.
    • Many industries rely on either the direct extraction of resources from forests & oceans or the provision of ecosystem services. Some of the examples include healthy soils, clean water, pollination and a stable climate.
    • Industries highly dependent on nature generate 15% of global GDP which is $13 trillion, whereas moderately dependent industries generate 37% i.e., $31 trillion.
    • Construction (USD 4 trillion), agriculture (USD 2.5 trillion) and food and beverages (USD 1.4 trillion) are the three largest industries that depend most on nature
  • Framework adoption:
    • The WEF has already adopted a framework proposed by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to identify, measure and manage climate risks which could be used to manage the nature risks.

Way forward:

  • We have the power to change this.
  • Humanity urgently needs to rethink its relationship with nature, in order to halt and reverse the alarming degradation of the natural world.
  • Business leaders have a crucial role to play, by putting nature at the core of their processes and decision-making and systematically identifying, assessing, mitigating and disclosing nature-related risks to avoid severe consequences.
  • Businesses can be part of the global movement to protect and restore nature.

Conclusion:

Nature loss matters for most businesses – through impacts on operations, supply chains, and markets. Despite an increasing focus on nature loss, there is still a limited understanding of why it matters to businesses and what the private sector can practically do about it.  Thus, it is vital to prioritize the protection of nature’s assets and services within the broader global economic growth agenda.

 

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

7. Several doubts expressed over recent official statistics in the country, examine if the present national accounting and analytical framework misses out on many key dimensions of a complex economy. Suggest solutions.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article highlights the fact that Reliable and trustworthy data models could improve our chances of improving our economy, amidst several doubts expressed over recent official statistics in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the recent issues that have been continuously pointed out at the inefficiencies and loopholes in the statistical data. And suggest what needs to be done.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First discuss what the issue is around the statistical data of the country.

Body:

Highlight first the facts where doubts were expressed over statistical data like the – Base year for GDP estimation, Employment-unemployment data being withheld etc.

Then move onto discuss the importance of statistical data in general.

Explain what are the major concerns over data

Suggest way forward as to what can be done to resolve the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude that newer solutions should be explored and the country needs to Build more reliance and trust on public data.

Introduction:

The new series of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures with 2011-12 as base, released in 2015, has not gone well with analysts; the withholding of employment-unemployment data for some time and consumer expenditure data, which is not released, added to this unease. Bringing the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the fold of National Statistics Office, altering its long-standing arrangement under the Governing Council and then National Statistical Commission, triggered suspicion.

Body:

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Doubts raised:

  • There are fears that the merger is an attempt to make the NSC toothless and officially defunct.
  • The present series encountered serious problems for the price adjustment, specifically for the services sector contributing about 60% of GDP, in the absence of appropriate price indices for most service sectors.
  • Defunct enterprises in MCA-21: The report based on a field survey of services firms showed that 16.4% of companies in the MCA-21 database were either non-traceable or closed, and another 21.4% were ‘out of coverage’ or misclassified.
  • Insufficiency in ASI data: ASI underestimates manufacturing growth in the GDP by up to one percentage point as about half the manufacturing companies registered under the Companies Act were not in the ASI list.
  • Pricing series issue with the service sector: The present series encountered serious problems for the price adjustment, specifically for the services sector contributing about 60% of GDP.
  • Absence of price index: There is an absence of appropriate price indices for most service sectors.
  • Unchanged approach: price and production indices are constructed using a fixed base Laspeyres Index, yield rate for paddy is estimated by crop cutting experiments, and the organization of field surveys for collection of data on employment-unemployment, consumer expenditure, industrial output, assets, and liabilities continue.
  • Productivity and remunerative price of output are major concerns for agriculture.
  • The growing inequality and concentration of wealth: Monopoly power, inefficient input-output mix, dumping, obsolete technology, and production mix
  • Ignoring structural issues: The macroeconomic framework assumes symmetric income distribution as it focuses on a trend-cycle decomposition of GDP for growth and a trickledown effect for percolation of income

Measures needed:

  • We need a new framework for analysis for such a complex system and evolutionary process.
  • There is a question of growing market power, automation, robotisation and other labour-replacing technologies affecting profitability, structural change and general welfare.
  • We need to find alternative avenues for the unemployed and jobs lost.
  • We also need to know in greater detail about market microstructure and optimality therein, the role of technology and advanced research, changing demand on human skills, and enterprise and organising ability, which are all complex.
  • The consensus macroeconomic framework of analysis assumes symmetric income distribution, and does not get into the depth of structural issues, as it focuses on a trend-cycle decomposition of GDP for growth and stability in market parlance and a trickledown effect for percolation of income.
  • In order to inject efficiency and stability, we need to have detailed data on how: markets clear, prices are formed, risks build up, institutions function and, in turn, influence the lifestyle of various sections of the people.
  • The alternative to be realistic for the real world must rest on two pillars: the micro-behaviour of individuals, and the structure of their mutual interactions.
  • In the changed situation of availability of micro data, we need to build a system to integrate the micro with the macro, maintaining distributional characteristics.

Way forward:

  • As official statistics is a public good, giving information about the state of the economy and success of governance, it needs to be independent to be impartial.
  • Data is the new oil in the modern networked economy in pursuit of socio-economic development.
  • The economics now is deeply rooted in data, measuring and impacting competitiveness, risks, opportunities and social welfare in an integrated manner, going much beyond macroeconomics.
  • We have a commitment to produce these statistics transparently, following internationally accepted standards, tailor-made to suit local conditions, for multi-disciplinary analytics.
  • As these statistics reflect on the performance of the government, it is necessary that its independence is maintained scrupulously.
  • To pursue the goal of a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25, harnessing demographic dividend, we must tap underused resources for demand creating investment, which require data to pursue policy right from a district and evaluate performance for efficiency including governance.