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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 April 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:  The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. Role of women was marginal to the Indian national movement as it miscarried to develop right articulation of their social discrimination. critically examine.(250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian history Spectrum Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the contributions of Women in the Indian national movement and in what way the social discriminations faced by them were major hurdles to their contributions.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way role of women was marginal to the Indian national movement as it miscarried to develop right articulation of their social discrimination.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the context of the question.

Body:

To start with, highlight the societal discriminations faced by women during the freedom struggle period. Present the Indian Women’s Movement in Historical Perspective. Explain how these social discriminations impeded the involvement and participation of women in the movement, quote examples to justify.

Conclusion:

Conclude that however women had a major role to play in the national movement towards the end of 18th century owing to the social reforms that our society witnessed.

Introduction:    

The history of Indian Freedom Struggle would be incomplete without mentioning the contributions of women. The sacrifice made by the women of India will occupy the foremost place. They fought with true spirit and undaunted courage and faced various tortures, exploitations and hardships to earn us freedom. When most of the men freedom fighters were in prison the women came forward and took charge of the struggle. The list of great women whose names have gone down in history for their dedication and undying devotion to the service of India is a long one.

Body:

Reasons for marginal contribution of Women to Indian national movement:

Women were not given their rights.  Women were only pushed behind by ill-treatment. It could easily happen since only male members were taken their advice in relation to framing of laws. Women were denied basic rights like

  • equal matrimonial rights to property
  • rights to widows to remarriage
  • adoption and divorce rights.
  • There was also prevalence of male dominance
  • Child marriage: Small girls in their adolescent age and ridiculously, in some cases, even infants in the cradle were married to each other. Early marriage affected the growth and development of the children.
  • The practice of female infanticide was common among certain castes and tribes in India, especially in the north and north-western states.
  • The major responsibilities of the women were dedicated towards the implementation of household responsibilities and they were not allowed to participate in the implementation of other tasks and activities, nor were they allowed to express their ideas and viewpoints.

During the Indian national movement:

  • Although the concept of ‘new woman’ was in the picture, it was only meant to familiarize the women with the notions of cleanliness, education etc. it hardly talked about the empowerment of women; of securing them a space to voice their views in the society.
  • But the male psyche at that time was not ready to undermine the importance of the so-called masculine traits as opposed to the feminine traits or to even bring the two at par with each other and hence, prevailed the male dominance.
  • To contain the liberty of the newly liberalized ‘new woman’, the male nationalist leaders came up with the construct of the ‘common woman’. The ‘common woman’, as opposed to the ‘new woman’, was coarse, promiscuous and vulgar.
  • The common women were the Nautch girls, street-vendors, fisherwomen, washerwomen to cite a few.
  • To keep a section of women lower to the men, the nationalist leaders came up with the notion of ‘common women’ as opposed to the new women. So that the women would feel embarrassed about their variant called the ‘common women’ and in turn will always submit themselves to the ‘perfectness’ of the male.
  • The emergence of Gandhi on the political scene in the 1920s as a nationalist leader had a tremendous impact on women.
  • His ideas about women’s roles in the nationalist movement were considered revolutionary for that period.
  • Though he believed in gender-specific roles, he was very critical of those roles that cloistered women in ignorance and affected them adversely like purdah, dowry and the devadasi (temple dancers) tradition.

Despite these limitations, the contribution of women to Indian Independence movement was significant.

  • They were involved in diverse nationalist activities, both within and outside the home.
  • Within the home, they spun and wove khadi, held classes to educate other women and contributed significantly to nationalist literature in the form of articles, poems and propaganda material.
  • Shelter and nursing care were also provided to nationalist leaders who were in hiding from the British authorities.
  • Outside the home, Prabhat Pheris were organised in which women from all castes and classes would walk to the local temple singing songs to rouse the nationalist and patriotic feelings of the people.
  • They also held meetings and demonstrations, took part in satyagraha, picketed toddy and foreign-cloth shops, went to prison and also suffered brutalities at the hands of the British police.
  • As a result of being associated with, and participating in the freedom struggle, Indian women realized the importance of living life as conscious human beings.
  • A number of women activists also gained prominence were Kamaladevi Ghattopadhyaya, Kalpana Dutt, and Madame Bikaji Cama.

Conclusion:

So the issues like stereotyping and underestimating women on their role in the nationalist movements in an effort to glorify the contributions made by men, make people fall for the farce that- “Women had hardly any role to play in the national movements.”

 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations

2. In terms of geographic and demographic dimensions, skilled manpower, civilizational depth, China is the only country in the neighborhood which qualifies for comparison with India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: mea.gov.in 

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of – India and its neighborhood- relations.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects one to draw comparison between the development levels of India and China while highlighting the fact that China is the only country that is capable of being compared with the progress that India is making.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the India China factor.

Body:

One has to justify that in terms of geographic and demographic dimensions, skilled manpower, civilizational depth, China is the only country in the region which qualifies for comparison with India. Explain that the two countries have a long history of civilizational links. Discuss the bilateral relations; the two sides have established a Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. The leaders of India and China have also been meeting on the sidelines of regional, plurilateral and multilateral gatherings and conferences etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a positive note that It remains to be answered precisely as to whether the modern China is an opportunity, challenge or threat, perhaps, a mix of all three.

Introduction:    

India and China were global economic powers during most of the last 2000 years and were returning to stage gradually. The two countries should go beyond the model of differences management, actively shape bilateral relations and accumulate positive energy. As the only two major developing countries and important representatives of emerging economies, China-India relations assume global and strategic significance.

Body:

Bilateral Relations:

  • The development of China and India is an important opportunity for each other.
  • Both countries are members of China-Russia-India Trilateral, BRICS, SCO and G20, and share common interests in promoting globalization and opposing trade protectionism.
  • On major international issues, China and India have shared interests and similar positions.
  • Government departments, political parties, legislatures and military of the two countries have actively engaged in high-level exchanges and shared governance experience.
  • Recently the two sides held the 6th Strategic Economic Dialogue and the 9th Financial Dialogue, and reached new consensus on development strategies.

Comparisons between India and China:

Geographic area

India has a total area of 3.29 million sq. km whereas China is around 9.59 million sq.km

Population

India: 1,370,195,865 (October 2019 est.) whereas China: 1,435,328,900 (October 2019 est.)

Civilization:

India: The Indus Valley civilization, one of the world’s oldest, flourished during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. and extended into northwestern India. Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. – which reached its zenith under ASHOKA – united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 700 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established the Delhi Sultanate. In the early 16th century, the Emperor BABUR established the Mughal Dynasty, which ruled India for more than three centuries. European explorers began establishing footholds in India during the 16th century.

China: China’s historical civilization dates from at least 1200 B.C.; from the 3rd century B.C. and for the next two millennia, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Chinese Communist Party under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China’s sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO’s successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically but political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.

Economy:

  • China’s Manufacturing Productivity is 1.6 times than that of India
    • China produces a lot more than India does. It also does so remarkably more efficiently.
    • Given the better quality infrastructure and better production techniques at China’s disposal, it is not astounding that the average Chinese worker produces 1.6 times more output than that of the average Indian worker. This means that the productivity of China as a nation is 60% higher.
    • The Indian manufacturing sector has multiple problems. These problems include erratic electricity supply, slow and expensive transport systems as well as lack of skills that increase manufacturing productivity.
    • Given that a large portion of these problems are structural in nature, it seems unlikely that India will be able to overcome them in the near future.
  • Entrepreneurship
    • China is still more or less a communist country. This means that all the enterprises there are run by the state. State run enterprises are usually not efficient and definitely not innovative.
    • On the other hand, the Indian industry is based on innovative enterprises. Given the competitive nature of the world economy, the Indian industry stands a better chance at success in the future.
    • This can already be seen as capital intensive Chinese industries such as coal and cement are going bankrupt whereas knowledge intensive industries such as information technology are thriving!
  • Workforce
    • The Indian economy on the other hand, has a clear strategic advantage when the workforce is considered.
    • The Indian education system was created by the British. As such, Indian workforce is global in nature. They can speak fluent English which gives them an edge over Chinese nationals who face language barriers.
    • Also, the Indian workforce does high end jobs for the information technology industry and BPO industry as compared to the Chinese workforce which works menial jobs on the factory shop floor.
    • Given that the future of the world lies in high skilled knowledge jobs, the Indian workforce may soon rise in prominence while the Chinese workforce may soon become redundant.

Way Forward:

  • Regional disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.
  • Maintaining close high-level exchanges.
  • The two sides can strengthen cooperation under the WTO framework, jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
  • The two sides should speed up negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
  • Increasing mutual investments and encouraging Indian companies to participate in China International Import Expo
  • Upgrading Nathula border trade port to make the pie of cooperation even bigger
  • India needs to suggest ways and means to prevent Pakistan from intruding in its relationship with China.
  • Both need to identify roadmaps to address the burgeoning trade deficit favouring China.
  • People to people contact, tracing the work of Chinese traveller Huen zang and Indian counterpart Kashyap Matenga in relation with Buddhism.
  • A strong India-China relationship is important not only for the mutual benefit of the people of India and China, but also for the region and the world.

 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations

3. Discuss the importance of the Maritime Neighborhood for India. Also explain what should be the course of action for Indian foreign policy towards maritime Neighborhood.(250 words)

Reference: Live Mint  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of – India and its neighborhood- relations.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the concept of Maritime Neighborhood and its importance for India, also explain the course of action for Indian foreign policy towards successful maritime Neighborhood.

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 Maritime Neighborhood.

Body:

Start by explaining what is the importance of the Maritime Neighborhood for India? – discuss the Geo-strategic, geopolitical, geo-economic prospects.   Explain what should be India’s focus in the maritime domain. Discuss the past to present progress in this domain made by India. Highlight the concerns and challenges. Suggest solutions to the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:    

The Indian Ocean matters today, arguably more than ever. It is a major conduit for international trade, especially energy. Its littoral is vast, densely populated, and comprised of some of the world’s fastest growing regions. The Ocean is also a valuable source of fishing and mineral resources. The Indian Ocean basin is of particular importance for India, as the region’s most populous country and geopolitical keystone.

Body:

ondian_ocean

The Economic importance of IOR for India includes:

  • Trade and Commerce:
    • It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
    • Today, almost 90,000 vessels in the world’s commercial fleet transport 9.84 billion tonnes per year. This represents an almost four-fold increase in the volume of commercial shipping since 1970.
    • The Indian Ocean has vital sea lanes of communication crisscrossing it and which feeds Asia’s largest economies. Around 80 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes through the choke points of this ocean and therefore it literally connects the east to the west with 40 percent passing through the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent through the Strait of Malacca and 8 percent through the Bab el-Mandab Strait.
    • The Ocean’s vast drainage basin is important in its own right, home to some two billion people. This creates opportunities, especially given the high rates of economic growth around the Indian Ocean rim, including in India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, and Eastern and Southern Africa.
    • 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 68 per cent of trade by value come via the Indian Ocean.
    • Presence of 13 major ports and over 200 minor ports provide avenues for exports of Indian goods to world.
  • Blue Economy: The Indian Ocean is rich in natural resources.
    • Oil and Natural Gas:
      • Forty per cent of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin.
      • Energy security and resources are absolutely critical. The Indian Ocean Region is immensely rich in that.
      • 28 million barrels per day—or nearly 80 per cent of India’s crude oil requirement—is imported by sea via the Indian Ocean. Taking into account India’s offshore oil production and petroleum exports, India’s sea dependence for oil is about 93 per cent, according to the Indian Navy.
      • India is also the fourth-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with about 45 per cent coming by sea.
      • India has her own oil rigs in the Indian ocean region. Example: Bombay high
    • Minerals:
    • Mineral resources with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the sea bed.
    • Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper.
    • Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.
    • In 2014, the International Seabed Authority issued licenses for the Indian Ocean ridge, opening up new opportunities for deep seabed mining. This region is estimated to have massive reserves of manganese, as well as cobalt, nickel, and copper, all of which are scarce on Indian soil.
    • Placer Deposits – Vitally important, thorium resources in placer sands of Malabar coast are a promise to Nuclear Energy security. Similarly Placers of Thailand, Indo-China and Australia are source of precious heavy metals critically important for Electronics and semi conductors industry.
    • Fishing and Aquaculture:
    • Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15 per cent of the world’s total.
    • Aquaculture in the region has also grown 12-fold since 1980. Although global fishing is reaching its natural limitations, the Indian Ocean may be able to sustain increases in production.
    • The largely unregulated overexploitation of its fishery resources. The consequences of over fishing, which is actually largely a result of activity by countries outside the region, could eventually have serious consequences for littoral states that depend heavily on maritime resources to feed their populations and also provide valuable export revenues.
    • India captured 4.1 million tonnes of fish in 2008, placing it sixth in the world and its fishing and aquaculture industries employ some 14 million people.
    • Fisheries and aquaculture industries are also a major source of exports. India’s maritime exports grew 55 times in volume between 1962 and 2012 and fisheries exports now account for Rs. 16,600 crore or about $2.5 billion.
    • Tourism:
    • Coral atolls in Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands attract many tourists from India as well as abroad. This helps the livelihood of many islanders.

Challenges:

  • Piracy– Although the number of reported incidents of piracy have dropped dramatically since 2012, the International Maritime Bureau reports high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships, particularly in the Gulf of Aden, along the east coast of Africa and the Strait of Malacca.
  • Presence of China- Aggressive soft power diplomacy (through infrastructure projects, soft loans and its Belt and Road Initiative), China has secured considerable goodwill and influence among countries in the Indian Ocean region.
  • China is also engaging in a String of Pearls strategy to surround India, by building ports and military establishments in the littoral countries.
  • Traditional challenges– maritime boundary, border issues between the countries surrounding the ocean.
  • Non-traditional challenges– the issue of maritime governance – biodiversity threats, climate change, sea level changes, human trafficking, piracy, maritime terrorism and unscientific fishing.

Way forward for India:

  • It is crucial that the navy priorities its acquisition based on the risk assessment of the region.
  • The concept of strategic buffer zones in the naval domain is enshrined in great power politics and any nation getting a head start in it can safely avoid anti-access and area denial tactics from their adversaries. India therefore should develop a similar outlook to guard against Chinese encirclement of its strategic space.
  • New Delhi should look to operationalise logistical agreements with France and the United States, in order to upgrade naval relations and allow its own bases to be used for logistical support by the French and American navies.
  • These logistical bases can enhance India’s capability to establish sea-denial in the Indian Ocean, demonstrating the breadth of Indian naval power. These moves should be accompanied with counter-theatre presence in the Western Pacific, and diplomatic outreach to South Asian nations that are being courted by China.
  • India should look to develop interdependencies with neighbouring countries, both economically and strategically, which until now it has failed to realise. The void left by India has been dutifully fulfilled by China.

Conclusion:

Indian Ocean is an “ocean of economic opportunities” for India. The security threats posed by State and non-state actors are impeding the progress. The Government initiatives like SAGAR, IORA, Sagarmala etc. should ensure that the fruits of Blue Economy is well reaped.

 

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

4. Right to privacy though has been held as a fundamental right by the apex court of the country; it still isn’t an absolute right. Debate. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

The article examines the concerns regarding the government’s policies and measures employed during the pandemic.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way Right to privacy though has been held as a fundamental right by the apex court of the country still isn’t an absolute right in our country.

Directive:

Debate – 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 agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the concept of Fundamental rights in short.

Body:

To start with, talk about the Supreme Court’s judgment in S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017); which is a landmark judgment upholding the fundamental right to privacy. The observations made in the Judgment can help in the prevailing circumstances- The right to privacy is not absolute. There exist circumstances in which the right can be legitimately curtailed. However, any such restriction must be tested against the requirements of legality, necessity and the doctrine of proportionality. Give examples and present your arguments.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:    

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment in S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017) upheld the fundamental right to privacy. In the midst of public health crisis, the measures taken by Union & State governments in India like lockdown, physical distancing norms, restriction of movement etc. has been supported by public.  However, the Invasive use of technology that seeks to utilise people’s personal health data through the Aarogya Setu app and use of drones has led to concerns of violations of privacy of individuals.

Body:

With the pandemic being an existential threat to humanity and the paramount need to save lives, it can be tempting in such circumstances to argue that the executive’s powers are limitless. It is argued that such an argument is not only wrong but also dangerous because such limitless powers to the government are prone to overreach. There are also the concerns that the temporary measures imposed may develop to become a ‘new normal’ even after the crisis has passed. Such conditions may severely impact the civil rights of the citizens.

Some of the technological solutions used by Government in tackling the pandemic:

  • The state has created a list of persons suspected to be infected with COVID-19.
  • There have been extensive measures to ensure geo-fencing and use of drone imagery to monitor compliance by quarantined individuals.
  • Use of contact-tracing smartphone applications, such as AarogyaSetu.

Concerns posed against the right to privacy of individual:

  • Data publicizing:
    • In creating a list of infected persons, the state seeks to utilise people’s personal health data. Though the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 allows the state to do so, the state does not have the power to publicize such sensitive information.
    • This amounts to breach of the right to privacy of an individual.
    • Such publicizing also leads to other unintended consequences. Medical experts are of the view that the stigma attached to the disease has led to an increase in morbidity and mortality rates, since many with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms have refused to go to hospitals.
  • Rule of law:
    • The use of geo-fencing and drone technologies is unsanctioned under any existing law.
    • While cell-phone based surveillance might be plausible under the Telegraph Act of 1885, there have been no orders authorising such surveillance as per the procedure established by law.
  • Drone utilization to track people:
    • Contrary to regulations made under the Aircraft Act of 1934, the drones deployed also do not appear to possess any visible registration or licensing.
    • Indeed, many of the models are simply not permitted for use in India.
  • Concerns regarding Aarogya Setu app:
    • Contrary to best practices, details of the application’s technical architecture and its source code have not been made public.
    • The programme is not backed by legislation. In the absence of a data protection law and the lack of a statutory framework backing the use of the app, there is a lack of restriction on the agencies using the data generated by the app users.
    • Aarogya Setu may amount to a technological invasion into personal privacy, in a bid to achieve a larger social purpose.
    • There have been reports of employees of both private and public institutions being compelled to download the application.

Measures needed:

  • The right to privacy is not absolute. There exist circumstances in which the right can be legitimately curtailed. However, any such restriction must be tested against the requirements of legality, necessity and the doctrine of proportionality.
  • Appropriate legislation to back any restriction being imposed by the government.
  • Restrictions must be in pursuance of a legitimate aim.
  • There should be a rational relationship between the purpose and the restriction imposed.
  • Restrictions must be the “least restrictive” measure available to achieve an objective.
  • There is also a big need to create awareness among the users to stop propagating fake news and verify the news because in the long run an educated consumer of news is the best antidote to fake news.

Conclusion:

As a country, we must focus on investing on research to develop the technology to save our virtual space and not open our data for any misuse.

 

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

5. “In India, local governance is constitutionally recognized, but not empowered”, examine the statement in the backdrop of the effect of ongoing Covid-19 crisis.(250 words)

Reference: Live Mint 

Why this question:

The author in the article discusses the significance of local governance amidst such challenging times and in what way it is yet to be empowered.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the current conditions with respect to local governance in the country and examine closely how they are constitutionally recognized but are yet to be empowered.

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:

In short present the local governance scenario of the country.

Body:

To start with, explain the coming of the concept of local governance, its origin, constitutionality etc. Discuss what are the challenges and concerns before the Indian local governance system. One can use the current case of COVID crisis to explain the lacunae in the local governance system. Suggest what needs to be done to address the challenges and ensure the system is more empowered.

Conclusion:

Conclude that it’s time for the States to devolve more functions and finances to local governments and build capacity before the next crisis hits the country.

Introduction:    

The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 is a significant landmark in the evolution of grassroots democratic institutions in the country. It transfers the representative democracy into participatory democracy. It is a revolutionary concept to build democracy at the grassroots level in the country.

Body

The lockdown has made it amply clear that India is too large, too complex and too diverse to be run by centralized decree. One of the core problems faced by the Indian republic—its highly centripetal structure—has come bubbling up to the surface during the covid crisis.

Local governance is constitutionally recognized, but not empowered:

  • Local governance has four constitutional aspects—form, functionaries, function and finances. India has done a great job with the former two, but not the latter.
  • Overwhelming dependency on government funding: Local governments can either raise their own revenue through local taxes or receive intergovernmental transfers; the constitutional amendment recognized both but did not mandate either. When Panchayats do not raise resources and instead depend on external funding, people are less likely to enforce social audit and efficacy of the schemes.
    • Eg: In case of Urban local bodies, majority of municipalities have not increased property tax since many years and have not leveraged the municipal bonds for betterment of city infrastructure.
  • Creation of Parallel Bodies: Parallel Bodies have usurped the legitimate space of local bodies. For instance, Smart City scheme is being implemented in major cities through Special Purpose Vehicles, squeezing the limited space of urban local governance in municipalities.
  • Lack of adequate Devolution: Many states have not devolved the 3F’s of function, funds and functionaries, to enable local bodies to discharge their constitutionally stipulated functions. The failure is that the 73rd and 74th amendments did not mandate the transfer of governance functions—like the provision of education, health, sanitation and water.
  • Excessive control by bureaucracy
    • In many Gram Panchayats, Sarpanchs have to spend an extra ordinary amount of time visiting block Officers for funds and/or technical approval. These interactions with the Block staff office distort the role of Sarpanchs as elected representatives.
    • Multiple institutions like parastatals, development authorities, public works departments, and ULBs themselves report to different departments of the state government and have been entrusted with overlapping responsibilities.
  • Poor Infrastructure: It is found that nearly 25% of Gram Panchayats do not have basic office buildings. Capacity building of elected representatives is another hindrance in the grass roots democracy. In case of urban local bodies, Mayor position is merely ceremonial.

Measures Need to strengthen local self-governance

  • Urban Local bodies:
    • Metropolitan governance systems are needed in million-plus cities. There is a strong case for having a two-tier governance structure where all local functions are transferred to the ward committees and citywide services, such as transportation, water supply, sewerage, etc., are vested with the city council or regional authorities.
    • Each city needs to be recognized as a distinct unit of the economy. In larger cities, City Economic Councils can serve as a clearinghouse.
  • Central Government has started the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan. The campaign is undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”.
    • It aims to draw up Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) in the country and place them on a website where anyone can see the status of the various government’s flagship schemes.
    • Gram Panchayats have been mandated for the preparation of GPDP for economic development and social justice utilizing the resources available to them.
    • Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • Social Audit: The power of social audit was proven by Jan Sunwai in Rajasthan. Transparent, third party Social Audit can enable people to hold the representatives accountable.
  • Citizen Participation
    • Ward committees and area sabhas should be activated with a technology- enabled ‘Open Cities Framework’ and the use of digital tools for feedback and reporting.
    • In case of Gram Sabhas, their functions and roles must be clearly defined as in the PESA Act, to enable to function effectively.

Conclusion

Local self-government institutions are expected not only to provide for the basic civic amenities for the safety and convenience of the citizens but also mobilize local support and public cooperation for the implementation of various programmes of welfare. Another benefit of the local government is that the transmission of power from bureaucrats to the democratically formed local government has positively checked the influence of bureaucracy. Thus it can be said that the local government ensures close relationship between the people and the higher level of governments through this device of communication.

 

Topic:   Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing. Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

6. Do you agree with the view that the covid-19 pandemic presents a window to second white revolution for India? Give reasons in support of your arguments.(250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why this question:

The Author explains in detail the possible opportunities that the current pandemic brings with it with respect to the dairy farming in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the prospects for second white revolution brought out by the COVID-19 pandemic to India.

Directive:

Give Reasons – 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:

In short explain the effect of the pandemic in general on the agriculture sector and otherwise.

Body:

The body of the answer must explain How COVID-19 could benefit the dairy industry. Take hints from the article and present points in favour of your argument like – Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up the real possibility for our dairy industry to benefit as large sections of consumers may shift from meat-based to dairy-based protein. Covid-19 crisis has witnessed reverse migration of labour force from urban to rural areas leading to social disruptions. On the positive side, we can look at this as an opportunity; these workers can be encouraged and incentivized to join their family agriculture/dairy farms etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a positive note that it’s the right time to encash the opportunity and help and aid our farmers with a new ray of hope.

Introduction:   

Dairy industry has proved to be more resilient than many other sectors in terms of the extent of supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 lockdown. Millions of our animal-owning households, the majority being smallholders, particularly those connected to producer-centric institutions continued to milk their cows and buffaloes, and sell the surplus to the village milk collection centres. Milk was then pooled, cooled, and transported to processing centres where it was pasteurised, packaged and dispatched to thousands of marketing outlets, finally finding its way to millions of homes.

Body:

Sustenance of dairy industry during CoVID-19:

  • To enhance the marketing of milk and milk products, many dairy organisations, initiated home delivery of milk and milk products through mobile carts, vans, e-commerce, etc.
  • All these measures helped stabilise milk sales, opening up opportunities to use e-commerce.
  • Many smart and progressive dairy farmers converted their surplus milk into khoa, paneer, ghee, etc, and sold it to the neighbourhood markets through informal channels.
  • The US is contemplating to purchase milk, convert it into commodities which could be used as international humanitarian aid.
  • All these measures helped sustain dairy industry.

Potential of White Revolution 2.0:

  • Post-liberalisation and Milk and Milk Products Order (2002) was abolished, dairy businesses observed a radical shift toward a strategic product diversification towards functional and traceable foods like nutrition-based health drinks, packaged milk products (such as paneer), and frozen/probiotic products and so on.
  • Market structure, conduct, and performance has dramatically changed post 2000s. Besides the established cooperative federations like Amul, other state cooperative federations and multinationals (namely, Nestle, Danon, and Lactalis) are aggressively harnessing the untapped business potential.
  • White revolution 2.0 can strengthen the scope of vertical integration between cattle feed industries, dairy machinery firms, producer cooperatives unions, state marketing federations, advertising and marketing firms, logistics and distribution agencies.
  • The dairy industry in India is unique. With six lakh villages housing about 90 crore people, dairying is not just a large economic activity but also an integral part of our social and cultural heritage
  • Can help small farmers to reduce dependence on crop sales
  • Can increase source of income of farmers in low yielding areas like Marathwada, Bundelkhand etc
  • India is surrounded by countries and regions that are milk-deficient, such as the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • There is ample scope for export of value-added milk products to Bangladesh, China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, the UAE, Oman and other gulf countries, all of which are located close to India.
  • At present, the population of South Asia alone is growing at 1.3 per cent a year; it is likely to be 2.2 billion by 2050. This presents an opportunity for India’s dairy industry

Challenges to White Revolution 2.0:

  • The Indian cows and buffaloes are generally low yielding and non-descript because of the lack of healthy cattle-feed and fodder, tropical heat and diseases.
  • Despite lack of water and gradually declining arable land, dairy farming is on the rise.
  • Free trade agreements, or FTAs, for instance, will allow EU government-subsidized products to be imported from Europe with little entry barriers. This will pose a big challenge to cow-farmers.
  • Due to unhygienic production, handling conditions and high temperatures, the quality of milk is adversely affected.
  • Because of inadequate marketing facilities, most of the marketable surplus is sold in the form of ghee which is the least remunerative of all milk products.

Measures needed:

  • India may consider reducing GST on ghee and milk fat, from 12% to 5% to bring it at par with the GST rate for SMP. This has been a long-standing demand of the dairy industry and will ultimately benefit milk producers, increase rural incomes, spur demand and hasten economic recovery.
  • Increase in the market share depends on how dairy firms’ capabilities and their resources are utilised given the opportunities and threats emanating from emerging markets economies.
  • Contract/corporate dairying and emerging global dairy trade are required to rope in dairy supply chains stakeholders in order to expand their outreach and “on-the-go” product positioning into the target segment.
  • Digital technology-enabled dairy firms need to identify their compatible partners and competitors for co-creation through product-process innovation via relationship/value-based marketing.
  • Freshness in milk, and convenience to store milk or milk products can be a technology innovation brought in by large dairy firms in association start-ups.
  • Education and Training at Panchayat level for small and medium size farmers
  • Subsidizing cattle production and encouraging cattle markets
  • Facility of logistics for produced milk
  • Improved Veterinary facility specially in artificial insemination of cattle
  • Encouraging private sector firm to procure dairy produced at rural level
  • Low interest loans for small and medium scale farmers for cattle purchase
  • Encouraging rural women to take up animal husbandry
  • Insurance of cattle against diseases like Anthrax, Foot and Mouth, Peste des Ruminantes, etc.
  • Nurture dairy entrepreneurs through effective training of youth at the village level coupled with dedicated leadership and professional management of farmers’ institutions.
  • Agricultural practices, sanitation, quality of drinking water & fodder, type and quality of pipelines – all of these need to be aligned to the goal of healthy milk

Conclusion:

Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up the real possibility for our dairy industry to benefit as large sections of consumers may shift from meat-based to dairy-based protein. Covid-19 has made people more aware of the need to adopt a healthy diet. Covid-19 crisis has witnessed reverse migration of labour force from urban to rural areas leading to social disruptions. On the positive side, we can look at this as an opportunity; these workers can be encouraged and incentivized to join their family agriculture/dairy farms.

 

Topic:  Disaster and disaster management. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

7. Post COVID-19 crisis, the world would witness changes in the geopolitical and geo-economic order. In this context, discuss how the changes can occur across the global institutions and regions.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question is amidst the possible geopolitical and geo-economic order that the world would witness owing to the COVID-19 scenario.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entire world with special focus on the effect it brings to global institutions and regions..

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 elaborate on the ‘new normal’ brought by the COVID -19 pandemic.

Body:

To start with, Discuss in brief, what are the new geo political and Geo economic order shifts the pandemic brought. Explain the effect of it on the institutional changes with focus on WHO, UNSC etc. Bring out in detail how the changes are varied across the regions-West, Europe and Asia etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a forward looking approach.

Introduction:    

COVID-19 pandemic is set to drastically alter geopolitics and human society. The pandemic is unprecedented and has led to radical uncertainty. COVID-19 would change the world and reshape the human society. There is already concern that a diminution in human values could occur, and with this, the concept of an international community might well cease to exist.

Body:

Possible geo-economical change:

  • China, which is already one of the most prominent nations of the world and an important player in international institutions, could grow even stronger.
  • China is considered indispensable as the world’s supplier of manufactured goods.
  • China now seeks to benefit from its early recovery from the pandemic to take advantage of the problems of the rest of the world, by using its manufacturing capability to its geo-economic advantage.
  • The current pandemic could hollow out the financial viability of many companies, institutions and banks across the world. There are reports of China’s intentions to acquire financial assets and stakes in banks and companies across the world, taking advantage of the scaled-down value of their assets.
  • China is poised to dominate the global economy.

Possible geo-political changes:

  • By offering medical aid and other essential supplies to several Asian and African countries during the current pandemic threat, China would gain a geopolitical advantage by its action.
  • China with its Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to combine regional connectivity alongside gaining a virtual economic and substantial stranglehold across Asia, is ostensibly preparing the way for a China-centric multilateral globalisation framework.

Changes occuring in global institutions:

  • Existing international institutions such as the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and the World Health Organization (WHO) are being blamed of having failed to measure up to the challenge posed by the pandemic.
  • The UN Security Council has not been able to take any concrete action in dealing with the situation.
  • WHO has been blamed of being China-centric. WHO’s underestimation and inaction during the initial phase could have amplified the pandemic to such large scales.
  • The UN and other global organizations have not been able to ensure a common vision or approach among the many nations. They have failed to ensure cooperation and collaboration among its members.
  • That prestigious global institutions are under attack, even in such critical times, speaks about the mood prevailing across the world.

Changes occurring at the regional level:

A faltering West:

  • COVID-19 would effectively change the existing global order that has existed since the late 1940s. The geopolitical fallout of this pandemic could be the decreased dominance of the west.
  • The U.S. has been weakened economically and politically due to COVID-19. The U.S.’s capacity to play a critical role in world affairs seems to have diminished. The United States will be compelled to cede ground to the rising Chinese power.
  • The Brexit came as a body blow to the EU. Europe too has been badly affected by the pandemic. Germany which has played a major role in promoting EU is turning inwards.
  • Both France and a post-Brexit United Kingdom will also be focusing more on domestic issues.
  • Europe, in the short and medium term, will prove incapable of defining and defending its common interests, leaving it with very little influence in world affairs.

West Asia:

  • In West Asia, both Saudi Arabia and Iran are set to face difficult times.
  • The oil price meltdown will aggravate an already difficult situation across the region.
  • Given Israel’s non-dependency on oil and it being relatively less impacted due to the pandemic, it might emerge stronger out of the pandemic.

India:

  • The economic downturn might reduce India’s room for manoeuvring in global affairs.
  • The increasing Chinese investment in South Asia could see its influence grow in the South Asian region and diminish India’s influence in the region.
  • India’s leverage in West Asia will suffer due to the declining oil prices.
  • The large Indian expatriate community in West Asia would be severely affected and may seek repatriation back to India. This would substantially reduce the inflow of foreign funds to India from the region.

Conclusion:

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, involving as it does far too many variables. The very complexity of the novel coronavirus leads to radical uncertainty. Hence, it unlikely that the world will ever be the same again. Thus, there is a need for the global community to work together by taking all the countries into confidence and supporting them. Together we stand, divided we fall – the adage holds perfectly apt for the coming times.