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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 March 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:  History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. The Second World War gave a great incentive to the nationalist movements in colonies. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe.

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the effect of second world war on the nationalist movements of the colonies.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the stimulus that the 2nd world war gave to the nationalist movements of the colonies.

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 link between rise of nationalism and second world war.

Body:

Second World War had a major impact on the process of ‘decolonization’. This gave rise to several nationalist movements.

Explain how Decolonization was the withdrawal of colonial powers from colonies and the acquisition of political or economic independence by such colonies.

Detail on the factors behind the nationalistic movement rise following WWII.

Present the cases of nationalist movements of specific colonies – India, Africa, South East Asia etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Post-WWII, almost everywhere, colonial exploitation was challenged by powerful nationalist movements. Hence, the war gave a great stimulus to nationalist movements in colonies.

Introduction:

            The Second World War (1939-45) on one hand weakened the might of the colonial powers like Britain, France, Spain etc and on the other hand this gave an immense boost the nationalistic freedom struggles in colonies across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Body:

The reasons for rise of nationalist movements and the subsequent decolonization are as following:

U.S Pressure on the Allies to Decolonise: One of the provisions of Atlantic Charter was the autonomy of Imperial colonies after World War II. The US and the colonies put pressure on Britain to abide by the terms of the Atlantic Charter After the war. The right of self-determination of the peoples was decided in the UN Charter of 1945 and within only two decades the whole system of colonialism collapsed.

U.S.S.R Support to National Movements: The Soviet Union supported the principle of nationalistic self-determination. Moreover, many colonies witnessed the growth of communism such as India, Vietnam and Malaysia etc. These were anti-colonial movements which received direct and indirect support from the Soviet Union.

Weakness in the colonial powers: The colonial powers Britain, France etc had faced huge losses of men and material during the war. The victory came at a great cost and this lead to developments of cracks in their colonial possessions across the world.

Awakening in the Colonies: Even before the world war, some of the colonies like India, Indonesia had demanded self-determination. As the World War broke out this gave further impetus to the national movements in the colonies. 

Nationalistic Movements in Asia:

  • India: The Indian Independence movement reached its climax stage with the launch of Quit India Movement 1942 which was followed by RIN mutiny. The nationalistic fervor reached new heights with the calls for “Do or Die”. India achieved freedom from the British rule in 1947.
  • Indonesia: The Dutch colonisers had curbed the growth of nationalism by arresting leaders and other stringent measures but the world war changed it when East Indies was occupied by Japan. A certain amount of political freedom and military training was given to the Indonesians by the Japanese. On the eve of the Japanese surrender, the Indonesian nationalists, encouraged by the Japanese, proclaimed the independence and established Indonesian Republic on August 17, 1945.
  • Malaya: In the Second World War, the Japanese army invaded and occupied Malaya. Fall of Singapore and Japanese advances in Malay Peninsula during the World War II forced the British to consider reassessment of its non-interventionist policies in favour of ethnic cooperation and multiracial government in this region. But with the presence of diverse interest of different groups reaching to a consensus was a tough task. Popular support for independence increased after Malaya was reconquered by Allied Forces.
  • Vietnam: During the war, the whole area was occupied by the Japanese, and resistance was organized by the communist Ho Chi Minh and the League for Vietnamese Independence (Vietminh). When the Japanese withdrew in 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent. This was unacceptable to the French, and an eight-year armed struggle began which culminated in the French defeat in May 1954.
  • Burma: At the outbreak of the Second World War, Aung Sanseized the opportunity to bring about Burmese independence. In 1941, they fought alongside the Japanese who invaded Burma. The Japanese promised Aung San that if the British were defeated, they would grant Burma her freedom. When it became clear that the Japanese would not follow through with their promise, Aung San quickly negotiated an agreement with the British to help them defeat the Japanese. He was able to negotiate an agreement in January 1947 with the British, under which Burma would be granted total independence from Britain.

Nationalistic Movements in Africa:

  • The decolonization of Africa followed World War II as colonized peoples agitated for independence and colonial powers withdrew their administrators from Africa.
  • World War II saw the British African colonies support the Allies but no mention of independence for African nations.
  • Imperial Japan’s conquests in the Far East caused a shortage of “raw materials such as rubber and various minerals. Africa benefitted from this change.
  • Another key problem was the U-boats patrolling the Antarctic Ocean reduced the amount of raw materials’ being transported to Europe and prompted the creation of local industries in Africa. Local industries in turn caused creation of new towns, and existing towns doubled in size. As urban community and industry grew increased literacy, which allowed for pro-independence newspapers and rising nationalism in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and other African States.
  • The rise nationalism kick started the process of decolonization in Africa from the 1950’s.

Conclusion:

Hence, the World War-II served as a sort of death warrant for the colonial empires as after it, decolonization process started across the world.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2.  Discuss the factors that led to French Revolution. Examine its impact on French society in particular and on the world in general.  (250 words)

Reference: Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe.

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions and aims to ascertain the factors responsible for French revolution and its impact.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the reasons for French revolution, its impact on the world and French society.

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:

Briefly state what the Revolution was with dates in the introduction.

Body:

List down the main causes responsible for French revolution.

French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of social and political upheaval in France resulting in the overthrow of Monarchy and establishing of Republic.

Discuss the multidimensional factors responsible for the revolution.

Then move on to explain the impact on the French society and the world in general.

Napoleon carried ideals of the Revolution to the rest of Europe: Liberty, Modern Laws, Democratic Rights, protection of private property. This, in turn, gave rise to Modern Nationalism paving way creation of the sovereign nation-state.

Liberalism as government form got crystallised in North and South America.

It inspired other revolutions: Haitian Revolution, Independence Movements in Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America. Raja Rammohan Roy and Tipu Sultan in particular and Indian Nationalist Freedom Struggle incorporated ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the importance of the French Revolution laid in laying the foundation of Modern States based on Liberal Democratic ideals. Also, indirectly it laid the groundwork for the growth of Socialism and Communism by providing an intellectual and social environment in which these ideologies could flourish.

Introduction:

The outbreak French revolution of 1789 was due to the political incompetency of King Louis XVI, disorganized administrative step, sharp inequalities in the society and impending financial crisis.

Body:

Political Causes:

  • Degeneration of the Absolute Monarchy: Absolute monarchy reached its peak under Louis XIV, and began to degenerate during his lifetime. Refusal of Louis XV to remedy the abuses of the old order, inefficiency of Louis XVI, all added to the initiation of the process of revolution. His wife, Marie Antoinette, squandered money on festivities and interfered in state appointments.
  • Administrative Ruins: The administrative system of the country was hopelessly unsatisfactory. Various units of the administration possessed ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions. At different times, France had been divided into districts under bailiffs and seneschals whose offices were purely ornamental. It had also been divided into provinces under governors. It had been divided into intendancies (under intendants), judicial districts, educational districts and ecclesiastical districts. The conflict of jurisdictions added to the difficulties and troubles of the people.
  • Judicial Malfeasance: The legal system of the country was full of confusion. There was no uniform law for the whole of the country. Different laws were in force in different parts of the country. While at one place German law prevailed, at another place the Roman law was in force. It is estimated that there were about 400 different systems of law in the country. The laws were written in Latin and consequently were not within the comprehension of the people.

Social Causes:

  • Inequalities: There was too much of inequality in French society on the eve of the French Revolution. French society was divided into two parts the privileged and the unprivileged. It is estimated that the clergy and nobility owned about one-fifth each of property in France. Thus about one per cent of people owned about 40 per cent of property in the country. While they enjoyed privileges, they were exempted from taxes.

Economic Causes:

  • The series of wars France took part in Austrian War of succession, Seven Years war and American war of Independence which was great drain on the resources of the country.

Role of French Philosophers:

  • Another cause of the French Revolution was the effect of the preachings of the French philosophers. Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau were the three intellectual giants of the age.

Immediate Cause:

  • The impending bankruptcy and the acute shortage of food in France started the revolution in France.

Impact on French society and the World:

  • Changed the social structure beginning with end of the feudal system and monarchy
  • Bourgeois emerged as dominant classes.
  • End of privilege based system.
  • Changed the control of the church and separation of Education from Church.
  • Enlightenment introduced ideas of individuality
  • Change in the roles of women as they were active participants in the revolution.
  • The ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity became popular.
  • It inspired further revolutions: European Revolutions of 1830 and 1848, Rise of Nationalism in Italy and Germany etc.

Conclusion:

French Revolution was a total revolution having manifestations in almost all spheres from ending Royal Absolutism, Feudalism and inspiring many other revolutions which marked the beginning of the end of the ancient regime on which modern politics took shape.

 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. Despite various initiatives and projects, low priority is conferred to school education system in India. Do you agree with this view? Remark.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article brings out the lacunae in the Indian education system despite various efforts on the policy front.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the gaps in the school education system in the country and need to address them.

Directive:

Remark – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the present scenario of education system in the country.

Body:

Firstly bring out the gaps in the policies and framework that concern the Education system in the country.

Take hints from the article; discuss the factors that challenge the existing policies and point at the gaps in them such as poor electricity, poor infrastructure etc.

Discuss what steps should be taken to address these gaps.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) recently submitted its report on the 2020-2021 demand for grants for school education to the Rajya Sabha. In this report, the committee has made various observations on state of government schools in India.

Body:

Findings of the reports:

  • Almost half the government schools in the country do not have electricity or playgrounds.
  • The budgetary allocations saw a 27% cut from proposals made by the School Education Department. Despite proposals for ₹82,570 crores, only ₹59,845 crores were allocated.
  • The panel expressed disappointment over the stark deficits in the government school infrastructure.
  • Only 56% of schools have electricity, with the lowest rates in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, where less than 20% have access to power.
  • As per UDISE survey, less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • There is slow progress in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools.
  • Overall, for the core Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the department had only spent 71% of revised estimates by December 31, 2019.
  • India is also dealing with a scenario of significant teacher vacancies, which are to the tune of almost 60-70 per cent in some states.

Needs for reforms:

The learning crisis is evident in the fact that almost half of the children in grade 5 in rural India cannot solve a simple two-digit subtraction problem, while 67 per cent of children in grade 8 in public schools score less than 50 per cent in competency-based assessments in mathematics.

All_Work_&_No_play

Measures needed:

  • Core schemes should get additional funds at the revised estimates stage.
  • HRD Ministry should collaborate with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to construct boundary walls.
  • It should also work with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to provide solar and other energy sources so that schools have access to power.
  • A mission made approach to ensure infrastructure in schools like that of a 100day programme for education that focused on part on training of schoolteachers and opening of central schools.
  • Solar power can be installed in schools and toilets built for all students in 100 days.
  • For playgrounds, as of now it can be relied upon community grounds until permanent arrangements are made.
  • Community participation can make sure that the objectives are satisfactorily met.

Conclusion:

To usher in demographic dividend, it is necessary to allocate sufficient funds for school education as well as efficient utilization of it.  A public school system that guarantees universal access, good learning and all facilities has to be among the highest national priorities.

 

Topic:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

4. “Blockchain technology solutions are facilitating newer ways of doing business with remarkable efficiency”, Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why this question:

The article brings out newer insights of the utility of Blockchain technology and in what way it is making the businesses of today more and more effective and efficient.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of the applications of Blockchain technology to Businesses of today’s world.

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:

Define what Blockchain technology is.

Body:

Explain that Blockchain solutions are transforming the way companies and individuals do business, locally and globally, by simplifying transactions and increasing their efficiency.

Discuss that Blockchain works by establishing a peer-to-peer network where each participant maintains a database—a ledger—of all the network’s transactions. Compiled into “blocks”, transactions are then linked together using cryptographic hashes forming a “chain”. The cryptographically-connected blocks create an underlying data layer that provides a common, unified view of information for parties who can access the data. This gives organizations a new way of establishing trusted business networks. 

Kist down the advantages and applications.

Highlight the possible challenges involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such technology.

Introduction:

Blockchains are a new data structure that is secure, cryptography-based, and distributed across a network. The technology supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and the transfer of any data or digital asset. Anything recorded on them cannot be deleted, and is instantly uploaded to all users on that blockchain. Blockchain is being researched across the banking and financial services industries.

Body:

Advantages_Bolckchain

Prospects:

  • Bitcoin is just one of the applications for the technology, whose use is being tested across industries.
  • Healthcare, banking, education, agriculture, electricity distribution and land records are sectors that could benefit.
  • Blockchain-powered smart contracts, where every piece of information is recorded can enhance ease of doing business.
  • It will augment the credibility, accuracy and efficiency of a contract while reducing the risk of frauds, substantially.
  • Blockchain could play a crucial part in health insurance claims management by reducing the risk of insurance claim frauds.
  • The technology can also be used to prevent the sale of spurious drugs in the country by tracking every step of the supply chain network.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) can gain immensely from blockchain applications.
  • In an IoT world, thousands of devices would need to rapidly and seamlessly transact with each other in real time.
  • The adoption of blockchain by India’s banks could help avert frauds such as the one at Punjab National Bank as the technology updates information across all users simultaneously.
  • It could be used to further strengthen our national institutions, including the judiciary and the Election Commission.
  • Critical citizen information like land records, census data, birth and death records, business licenses, criminal records, intellectual property registry, electoral rolls could all be maintained as blockchain-powered, tamper-proof public ledgers.

Challenges:

  • Blockchain technology is expensive to initially put it in place.
  • The massive usage of energy for the functioning of blockchain.
  • Safeguarding the privacy of individuals and companies as blockchains are usually open ledgers for everyone to see.
  • Knowledge of the benefits of distributed ledger technology is still limited.
  • If automated risk management, smart contracts, and similar tools are deployed across a network, cascades of rapid and hard-to-control obligations and liquidity flows could propagate across a network.
  • This interdependence will likely call for creative organizational thinking to address the need for governance and strong risk management

Way Forward:

  • Blockchain, with all its possibilities, needs a serious look at its vulnerabilities and commerciality.
  • Before introducing blockchain into the public sector data-handling system, we need a robust and informative data repository.
  • Linking IndiaChain with Aadhar, thus creating a secure personal identity for all Indians.
  • Proper regulations for the use of blockchain technology in the country.
  • Identifying and resolving key issues and challenges in implementing this technology, the prime amongst those being data privacy.
  • India should effectively channel its technical human capital surplus to position itself as one of the pioneers during this upcoming wave of innovation.

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. Discuss whether Indian agriculture sector is ready for UAV/drone technology application? Highlight the challenges and suggest solutions. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The article presents the prospects of drone technology to the agricultural systems of the world.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance

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 technological advancements in the field of agriculture in India and in the developed countries.

Body:

Discuss what UAVs/drones are.

Explain first how India can learn from China, Japan in use of UAVs for improved pest management and crop productivity.

Highlight the challenges that Indian farmers are facing.

Explain in what way the Drones as a technology can address many of these challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that It would be in the interest of farmers and even the industry if UAV/drone technology can be deployed for agrochemical applications.

Introduction:

Satellite-driven technology, big data analytics, and digital solutions are helping farmers in many countries today make more informed cropping decisions with regard to weather, soil nutrient application, and pest and disease control. The use of drones can have a major impact on our farms by spraying of agrochemical products, and this needs quick government intervention.

Body:

Benefits of using Drone technology in Indian agriculture:

  • Increased efficiency and precision of agrochemical applications, in turn, leading to improved pest management and crop productivity as well as a significant reduction in operator exposure during spray operations.
  • The field capacity of drone-assisted spraying is about 20 times higher than that of manual spraying.
  • The other benefits are lower water consumption (as the material is sprayed in concentrated formulations) and the development of licensed applicators.
  • These include community spraying professionals who may provide application services to farmers similar to combine harvester operators, thereby creating new skilled employment potential in rural India.

Challenges faced by Indian agriculture sector:

  • fragmented landholdings.
  • lack of adequate market access
  • rising costs (especially of human labor)
  • poor/below par yields in most crops
  • low usage of modern technology relative to their counterparts in the US, Europe, Brazil, Argentina or China.

Measures needed:

  • The government, both at the Centre and states, must respond in a timely manner through a sound regulatory framework, so as to prevent uncontrolled and inappropriate use.
  • The focus should be to minimize the potential risks that come with the unfamiliarity and rapid adoption of an emerging technology.
  • The steps in establishing a robust policy framework is to identify the various risks associated with drone application and the processes to deal with them.
  • These cover the specifications for the drones/UAVs and the agrochemical formulations being used, the capabilities of the spray operators and training standards, and environmental variables.
  • Based on these, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should be put in place for spray operators, drone manufacturers and agrochemical companies to comply with.
  • The necessary regulations should take into consideration (1) civil aviation laws (both local and umbrella) and the setting of vehicle specifications, (2) SOPs and piloting requirements for safe use, and (3) product approvals and permissions for spray operations.
  • setting up a system for certification or licensing of drone operators to ensure their capability for piloting the UAV machines safely.
  • Such certification/licensing should be subject to regular renewals and conducting of refresher courses.
  • The authorities should also accredit training facilities to put in place a standardized programme for all agricultural drone operations.
  • India can learn from China, Japan in use of UAVs for improved pest management and crop productivity.

Conclusion:

It would be in the interest of farmers and even the industry if UAV/drone technology can be deployed for agrochemical applications. This should be supported by a robust and pragmatic science-based policy framework, with Japan’s revised guidance document serving as the most suitable point of reference for drafting our regulations.

 

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

6. Discuss the factors that ail India’s Free Trade Agreements. Explain what factors are necessary for efficient functioning of trade regime. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why this question:

The article brings out the factors that plague India’s FTAs.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the factors that ail India’s Free Trade Agreements. And bring out the factors that are necessary for efficient functioning of trade regime.

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 highlight the significance of trade in general.

Body:

Explain the factors that are ailing India’s FTA.

Discuss why India is skeptic of free trade and is opting for protectionist policies.

Bring out the defects in the current regime.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

Free trade agreements are a key to creating seamless trading, but there are genuine concerns when India signs up new such pacts because of past experience. However, a growing wave of protectionism has dominated global trade of late. While it is difficult to assess whether this will lead to a significant shift in the global trade paradigm, a review of India’s existing free trade agreements (FTAs) before negotiating new ones is necessary.

Body:

So far, India has signed 14 FTAs. The impact of all these FTAs on the economy, and especially on the agriculture sector has been disastrous. Among these, the India-Sri Lanka and ASEAN-India FTAs had the greatest negative impact on the Indian agriculture sector. India decided against joining RCEP at the eleventh hour. The official version is that India runs a large trade deficit with RCEP countries, and was expecting specific protection for its industry and farmers from a surge in imports, especially from China.

Factors that ail India’s Free Trade Agreements:

  • The poor negotiations of FTAs under previous governments have harmed Indian industry, and led to a distorted trade balance.
  • In general, an FTA, by changing the rule of the existing trade regime, may increase the transaction cost of trading turns out to be inefficient due to additional complexity.
  • The concerned officials for enforcing the rules are not well-versed with their intricacies. Further, policymakers hardly pay attention to this.
  • Another shortcoming in the architecture of India’s FTAs is the avenue of discretionary power of officials in judging tariff concession claims. Both these add to transaction costs.
  • Packaging and labelling issues are also not well-defined under FTAs, raising the compliance cost of availing concessions under the agreement
  • High cost of packaging affects competitiveness of exports in the international market.
  • shortage of proper storage facilities at ports, especially for items requiring cold storage, the possibility exists that traders suffer loss due to damage of goods.
  • Certification is an issue that needs attention at the time of signing of FTA if the interests of traders/manufacturers are to be protected.

Case study: India-Sri Lanka FTA (ISFTA), one of the earliest FTAs India singed, and for which more evidence is available from our recent in-depth study. In 2005, 98% of Sri Lankan exports availed the FTA route. This has declined to about 50% in recent years. On the other hand, only 13% of India’s exports are routed through FTA. Surely, no one expects this trend to be exhibited after signing an FTA. Some argue that this fall in the share of utilization of the FTA route is due to the implementation of the SAARC Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) post 2006, and most Indian exporters are using the SAFTA route. This logic falls apart since the rate of tariff concession is higher under ISFTA (up to 100%) than under SAFTA (up to 20%). The question, then, is why exporters on either side are reluctant to avail benefits of ISFTA.

Measures needed for efficient functioning of FTA’s:

  • policymakers must pay enough attention to creating a complementary ecosystem, in terms of trade facilitation measures for efficient functioning of the trade regime, at the time of signing of FTA.
  • labelling regulations should be clearly defined and made available to traders, it makes compliance easy, and would not cause problems in clearing shipments
  • Since government authorities function at their own pace, there is a need for a system of third-party certification from private entities in partner countries.
  • The FTAs can ensure market access to only the right quality products made at competitive prices.
  • Improvement in firm-level competitiveness is a must.
  • Negotiating bilateral FTAs with countries where trade complementarities and margin of preference is high may benefit India in the long run.
  • Also, higher compliance costs nullify the benefits of margin of preference. Thus reducing compliance cost and administrative delays is extremely critical to increase utilization rate of FTAs.
  • Proper safety and quality standards should be set to avoid dumping of lower quality hazardous goods into the Indian market.
  • Circumvention of rules of origin should be strictly dealt with by the authorities.
  • Well-balanced FTA deals addressing the concerns of all the stakeholders are the need of the hour.

Conclusion:

There is a need to revisit all FTAs, and introduce an autonomic decision-making process to strengthen principle-based economic judgments, thereby reducing transaction costs of trading.

 

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. What is a cyber-threat? Discuss numerous challenges associated with cyber threats along with steps taken by the government to prevent it. (250 words)

Why this question:

The question is amidst the rising incidences of Cybercrime that the world community is facing.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and must discuss the challenges associated with cyber threats along with steps taken by the government to prevent 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:

Briefly explain cyber threat with its various forms.

Body:

A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. It also refers to the possibility of a successful cyber-attack that aims to gain unauthorized access, damage, disrupt, or steal an information technology asset, computer network, intellectual property or any other form of sensitive data. 

Discuss various challenges associated with cyber threats in the country.

Analyze the various steps taken by the government and suggest way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting the way ahead.

Introduction:

A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. Cyber threats include computer viruses, data breaches, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and other attack vectors. Cyber threats also refer to the possibility of a successful cyber-attack that aims to gain unauthorized access, damage, disrupt, or steal an information technology asset, computer network, intellectual property or any other form of sensitive data. Cyber threats can come from within an organization by trusted users or from remote locations by unknown parties.

Body:

India’s preparedness and challenges faced:

  • The attacks can be more tangible causing damage to physical or digital infrastructure.
    • This includes a country’s water system or electric grid.
    • Cyber tentacles can spread to political parties, universities and private businesses and Citizens.
    • Potentially worrisome cyber incidents include interference in political affairs, leaks and espionage and the compromising of critical national infrastructure.
  • A 2017 study conducted by Symantec found that India ranked fourth in online security breaches, accounting for over 5 per cent of global threat detections. In the beginning of 2017, the newly launched Bharat Interface for Money application (BHIM app) reportedly faced spam threats.
  • The real danger to India lies in targeted cyber-attacks coming from adversarial nation states.
    • Countries like China can bring immense assets to bear in carrying out sophisticated cyber-attacks. The success of Stuxnet, which damaged the Iranian centrifuge facility at Natanz is an example.
  • Cyber warfare is characterized by an absence of clarity.
    • India can never be certain about the capability of the other side and also the chances of success if we launch a cyber-counterstrike.
  • There is a push towards greater digital dependence with demonetization a cashless system is being propagated. Aadhaar and the wider platforms such Digital India and Smart Cities will push things further along. India is the world’s second largest digital nation with more than 350 million Indians are online and millions more will be getting connected in the years to come.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
    • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
    • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion:

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.