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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 May 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Why were the teachings of Buddhism an appealing alternative to Hinduism for people in lower castes? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  un.org

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , ‘Vesak’, the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May, is being observed by United Nations on May 7, 2020. It is also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One has to analyse as to why the teachings of Buddhism were an appealing alternative to Hinduism for people in lower castes.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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:

Present briefly the coming of Buddhism as a religious doctrine.

Body:

Buddhism started in India over 2,600 years ago as a way life that had a potential of transforming a person. The religion is based upon the teachings, life experiences of its founder Siddhartha Gautama, born in circa 563 BCE. At first it was said that Buddhism was more appealing to lower castes since it stated that the path to salvation could be attained in this life. Buddhism’s individual outlook and disregard for the caste system in attaining enlightenment were appealing to people in lower castes.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance and relevance of Buddhism in today’s times.

Introduction:

Buddhism has a strong individualistic component: everyone has responsibility for their own happiness in life. Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths as guiding principles: there is suffering in life; the cause of suffering is desire; ending desire means ending suffering; and following a controlled and moderate lifestyle will end desire, and therefore end suffering. In order to achieve these goals, the Buddha presented the Noble Eightfold Path: right belief, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right occupation, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi—or meditation. According to Buddhist practice, following the Noble Eightfold Path will ultimately result in being liberated from samsara, the cycle of rebirth and suffering.

Body:

Buddhism- an appealing alternative to people of lower castes:

In the past:

  • “Once sub-human, always sub-human” is the root belief animating the exquisitely cruel behaviour of upper-caste Hindus towards the lowest castes in India.
  • The dalits, meaning broken people have endured contempt quietly for centuries, either because they were helpless or because they had internalised the humiliations heaped upon them, or both.
  • The only real escape had been to repudiate Hinduism and embrace another faith predicated on human equality.
  • The Buddha realized that without equality in the society it is impossible to create a peaceful and harmonious society.
  • The Buddha stood for equality, not only between men and women, but also between individuals irrespective of their social, economic, and political backgrounds.
  • He envisioned a casteless and classless society. His quest was to annihilate hierarchy in every form.
  • When he constituted his Sangha, equality was the organising principle of his community– thus creating a prototype of the society so that the larger community can emulate how to relate with each other on the basis of equality, respect, and dignity.
  • Buddhism appealed to people of lower castes because it emphasized individuals’ path to enlightenment and salvation, which could be attained in this life.
  • Buddhism also received state support from Emperor Ashoka, who converted to Buddhism in 260 BCE.
  • Buddhism doesn’t include a caste system – it teaches equality and that everyone is capable of reaching nirvana through personal improvement.
  • By converting to Buddhism, members of the lower caste could escape the discrimination they have suffered under the caste system and be treated as equals by other Buddhists.

Contemporary times:

  • The practice of untouchability is outlawed by the constitution of India. It is the oldest system of degradation of human beings. And, it is still practised in rural, as well as in urban India.
  • It is also evident that the degree of assertion has risen among the Scheduled Castes all over India.
  • They are resisting the graded hierarchy and inequality by all means possible.
  • Buddha himself criticized caste as an institution; and, in the 20th century many low-caste Hindus, under the influence of Ambedkarite teachings rediscovered and converted to Buddhism in order to escape caste discrimination.
  • The Ambedkarite movement is infused with ethos taught and practiced by Babasaheb Ambedkar. The movement is increasingly influenced by Buddhism: the religion of peace and human enlightenment following the great conversion movement launched by Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1956.
  • That is why thousands of dalits even today convert to Buddhism.
  • The resurgent Buddhism is the symbol of radical transformation in modern India.
  • Buddhism has become the mainstream religion after a gap of many centuries.
  • Besides Scheduled Castes, the Tribals and OBCs are gradually turning towards it.
  • Buddhism is holding the banner of democracy.

Conclusion:

Buddhism offers much needed confidence and dignity to the people who are forced to feel inferior and condemned by the caste-based social order. This confidence is evident in their rise from the hell of caste and their advent into the land of confidence and dignity. Buddha, after all, taught that the freedom of mind and wisdom is not privy to a class of people, it can be attained by all who struggle and strive to transform not only themselves, but also the people around them.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

2.  Discuss the prospects and possibilities along with the concerns involved in realizing the goal of virtual judiciary in the country.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu Indian Express

Why this question:

The article evaluates the advantages of adopting a system of virtual judiciary in tax cases.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the prospects and possibilities along with the concerns involved in realizing the goal of virtual judiciary in the country.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what a virtual Judiciary means.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that in the present nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, it has become clear that many activities can be done online. Present detailed Arguments in favour of a virtual judiciary system such as Speedy disposal of cases, Ease of legal access etc. Discuss the associated challenges such as the technology expanse, limitations etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court recently passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings saying congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The top court, which has restricted its functioning and is conducting hearing through video conferencing since March 25, exercised its plenary power to direct all high courts to frame a mechanism for use of technology during the pandemic. A bench headed by the Chief Justice stressed that “technology is here to stay”

Body:

e-Courts project as part of virtual judiciary was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by eCommittee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.

 e-Courts objectives:

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen centric services delivery as detailed in eCourt Project Litigant’s Charter.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency in accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

Advantages of virtual judiciary:

  • The key advantages of establishment of Electronic Courts in India is bringing in a justice serving mechanism that is transparent, efficient, affordable, time saving, protects the interests of witnesses, reduces the backlog of pending cases and most importantly reduces the number of unscrupulous activities.
  • Entire information related to a particular case would be available online. It would be available to the attorneys, parties and the general public through the help of internet.
  • Registered attorneys can file their case document directly from their home or office. They do not have to worry about postage, traffic congestion or messenger services. They can create a docket sheet and update it immediately, when the documents are filed.
  • With the help of internet, the documents of a case can be accessed easily from anywhere at anytime.
  • E-courts would help in the computerization of work flow management in courts. Thus, it would help to create a better court and case management. Video conferencing facilities would be installed in every court complex. Evidence of eyewitness, who are unable to attend the court can be recorded through this method.
  • The information would not be misplaced as all the information regarding the case would be carefully recorded and stored. Data keeping would include maintaining the records of e-file minute entries, bail orders, warrants etc.
  • In many cases, the witnesses are not able to come to the court and make their statement as the other party is too strong and scares them of the consequences. e-Courts can help in dealing with such cases.

Limitations of virtual judiciary:

  • E-courts in India is an endless and complicating process. The process of e-filing a document is a difficult process. All the evidence cannot be produced in a digital format.
  • Lack of techno legal expertise is the main reason for the poor status of e-courts in India. With the absence of techno legal expertise, electronic courts cannot be established in India. The country requires more techno legal e-court centers so that the project of e-court can achieve success.
  • The project of e-court involves a lot of expenditure. It involves the use of a lot of computers and infrastructures. In the long run, e-courts may face the issue of lack of funds.
  • Hackers are getting stronger with every passing day. The possibility of e-Courts getting hacked in such a case cannot be denied.

Measures needed:

  • It is critical to draw up a well-defined and pre-decided framework as it can help in laying a concrete roadmap and direction to the e-courts scheme of India.
  • To achieve this, the government must establish an effective task force consisting of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers and system analysts to draw up a blueprint for institutionalizing online access to justice.
  • Such a task force must be charged with the responsibility of establishing hardware, software and IT systems for courts; examining application of artificial intelligence benefiting from the data base generated through e-courts projects; establishing appropriate e-filing systems and procedures.
  • Creating skill training and recognition for paralegals to understand and to help advocates and others to access the system to file their cases and add to their pleadings and documents as the case moves along.
  • Once the blueprint is ready, the High Courts across the country may refer the same to the Rule Committee of the High Court to frame appropriate rules to operationalise the e-court system.
  • One aspect that needs to be focused on is the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties. The security of e-courts infrastructure and system is of paramount importance.
  • Also, user friendly e-courts mechanism, which is simple and easily accessible by the common public will encourage litigants to use such facilities in India.
  • The government must also make dedicated efforts in the training of personnel to maintain all the e-data.
  • Also, conducting training sessions to familiarize the Judges with the e-courts framework and procedure can give a huge impetus to the successful running of e-courts.

Way forward for Indian litigation and arbitration:

  • In India, a significant amount of time is spent in resolving disputes which has been the real bane of the Indian judiciary system. The e-courts project, if implemented, would go a long way in saving costs and time for the litigants.
  • The present government is taking active steps to establish e-courts all over India. All these government efforts will result in providing quick and cost effective solutions to the litigants.
  • The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the challenges and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and cost efficient.
  • Further, the e-court project also requires the executive and the judiciary to reaffirm their resolve to support a speedy, efficient and quality justice delivery in the country. It is also important to discuss steps required to surmount the various challenges facing the justice system.

 

Topic:   Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

3.  Deliberate upon the impact of the ongoing pandemic in changing dynamics of global value chain (GVC)? Suggest as to how Indian industries should behave post-pandemic situation. (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times 

Why this question:

The article talks about the impact of the ongoing pandemic in changing dynamics of global value chain (GVC) and the way forward for the Indian industries.

Key demand of the question:

Deliberate upon the impact of the ongoing pandemic in changing dynamics of global value chain (GVC) and highlight the role that Indian industries should play in the post-pandemic situation.

Directive:

Deliberate – 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:

Start by explaining the fact that the manufacturing and production ecosystem of the world is undergoing massive changes.

Body:

To start with explain that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock waves floating up and down GVCs. Unlike the previous epidemics, this public health threat is very unique, and increasingly becoming an economic threat. The hard-hit sectors in this pandemic are precision instruments, machinery, automotive and communication equipment. Present the case of Indian industries. Explain what needs to be done, suggest solutions to address the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the reconfiguration of GVCs will be the key imperatives for businesses and policy makers in the coming future to ensure a global sustainable market.

Introduction:

Global value chains (GVCs) integrate the know-how of lead firms and suppliers of key components along stages of production and in multiple offshore locations. The international, inter-firm flow of know-how is the key distinguishing feature of GVCs.

Global Value Chains are undergoing profound changes, with important implications for the manufacturing and production ecosystem. When uncertainty rises, global value chains suffer. Based on past data, one can predict that a 300% increase in uncertainty—as the covid-19 pandemic seems likely to produce—would reduce global supply-chain activity by 35.4%.

Body:

Importance of GVCs:

  • Promote productivity and growth: According to WTO report, a 1% increase in GVC participation is estimated to boost per capita income levels by more than 1%—about twice as much as standard trade.
  • In Ethiopia, firms participating in GVC are more than twice as productive as similar firms that participate in standard trade.
  • Reduce poverty: Since gains in growth from GVC are larger than from trade in final products, their impact on poverty reduction is also larger.
  • Regions in Mexico and Vietnam that participated more intensively in GVCs experienced greater reductions in poverty.
  • Deliver better jobs: Firms in GVC draw people into more productive manufacturing and services activities and tend to employ more women, supporting structural transformation in developing countries.
  • Important for growth: GVCs are a powerful driver of productivity growth, job creation, and increased living standards. Countries that embrace them grow faster, import skills and technology, and boost employment.
  • With GVC-driven development, countries generate growth by moving to higher-value-added tasks and by embedding more technology and know-how in all their agriculture, manufacturing, and services production.
  • GVCs provide countries the opportunity to leap-frog their development process.

corona_impact

Impact of the ongoing pandemic in changing dynamics of global value chain:

  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates, published on 8 April 2020, India is among the first 15 most affected economies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The disruption of world trade has a trade impact of US$ 348 million in India due to the pandemic, although it is less compared to its developed trade partners such as EU, the US, Japan and South Korea.
  • The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has sent shock waves floating up and down GVCs.
  • Unlike the previous epidemics, this public health threat is very unique, and increasingly becoming an economic threat.
  • The hard-hit sectors in this pandemic are precision instruments, machinery, automotive and communication equipment.
  • In India, these industries have started showing their participation in the GVC although facing a severe supply chain disruption due to lockdown and restrictive border controls.
  • The logistic sector is breaking down and the resultant disruptions are spreading across economics.
  • The businesses of small and medium enterprises, dependent on cross-border trades, have come to a standstill. This damage is irreparable.
  • Higher foreign value content in export and higher domestic value content in export indicate stronger backward and forward participation in GVC. These linkages have been strongly interrupted due to lockdown.

Measures needed for Indian industries in post-pandemic era:

  • According to the recent report published by the WTO, transparency obligations are crucial for trade in goods and services to flow. Governments are taking new trade measures every day in response to COVID-19.
  • Any crisis opens new opportunities and replaces some old. Global shock helps economists and policymakers to find new pathways to grab those opportunities.
  • Short term measures:
    • A strong fiscal and monetary policy-mix is the need of the hour in India.
    • The foreign content in the sectoral output of pharma industry is approximately 22%.
    • Thus, prioritising pharma industries would help in substitution for critical imported inputs by domestic ones, as there may be a large demand worldwide for these goods in the current situation.
    • This stage of the economy is an opportune moment for deficit financing.
    • In the face of large-scale unemployment and lockdown impact on livelihood of most people in India, the deficit financing may jack up domestic demand and production.
  • Medium to long term policy-mix measures:
    • ICT adoption and internet penetration, digitization, innovation and growth of e-commerce should be prioritised in order to get the benefits of fourth industrial revolution, as virtual platforms or ‘digital supply networks’ will become more important for matching providers and users.
    • Policies such as digital policy, AI strategy, e-commerce policy and start-up policy are going to be instrumental to take our economy back to its growth trajectory.
    • Brining small retailers in the e-commerce platform is imperative, so that they can’t run out from their business during the crisis.
    • Further, tackling unnecessary policy impediments to value chain operations, such as a lack of alignment of standards and other regulatory barriers, is now more important than ever to reduce the costs of international transactions.
    • After this outbreak, countries need to reengage with each other to find the silver lining, as this is a novel economic crisis that novel coronavirus has brought to us.

Conclusion:

Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturers and supply chains requires both new approaches and new forms of collaboration to increase overall resilience. Therefore, there is a need of proposing a new framework to help governments and companies think through the implications of the ongoing transformations of Global Value Chains for their industrial development and investment strategies. Thinking of new opportunities for multi-stakeholder collaboration for national economies in order to advance their levels of readiness, built resilience and have a role to play in next-generation Global Value Chains.

 

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

4. In the age of globalization and FDI, what are the compelling reasons to think about Domestic Resource Mobilization? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian economy by Dutta and Sundaram

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I and based on the theme of mobilisation of resources.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need and importance of domestic resource mobilisation in the days of globalisation and FDI.

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:

Define what you understand by Domestic Resource Mobilization.

Body:

To start with explain that in low-income countries confronting widespread poverty, mobilizing domestic resources is particularly challenging, which has led developing countries to rely on foreign aid, foreign direct investment, export earnings and other external resources. Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons to give much more emphasis to DRM; vital to elevating economic growth, accelerating poverty reduction and underpinning sustained development, more congruent with domestic ownership than external resources etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it in the contemporary world.

Introduction:

Mobilization of resources is all about how a government or governmental organization or a non-governmental organization can mobilize the material resources including finance to carry out its development projects or mission. For government, the mobilization of resources stands for collection of funds to allocate these resources to various development plans and schemes.

Body:

Importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM):

In low-income countries confronting widespread poverty, mobilizing domestic resources is particularly challenging, which has led developing countries to rely on foreign aid, foreign direct investment, export earnings and other external resources. Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons to give much more emphasis to DRM.

  • Greater reliance on DRM is vital to elevating economic growth, accelerating poverty reduction and underpinning sustained development.
  • High-growth economies typically save 20-30 per cent or more of their income in order to finance public and private investment.
  • DRM is potentially more congruent with domestic ownership than external resources.
  • Foreign aid invariably carries restrictions and conditionality.
  • FDI is primarily oriented to the commercial objectives of the investor, not the principal development priorities of the host country.
  • DRM is more predictable and less volatile than aid, export earnings, or FDI.

Mobilization of resource is done through:

  • Public sector:
    • Public revenue generation for investment in social services and infrastructure.
  • Private sector:
    • The private sector mobilizes the savings of households and firms through financial intermediaries, which allocate these resources to investment in productive activities.

Measures needed for DRM:

  • Broad-basing private investment in infrastructure requires commitment and holistic efforts from both the Centre and the states.
  • Empower public institutions to drive transformation:
    • Capable creditworthy public institutions are an essential prerequisite to attract private investment.
  • Rewire contracting frameworks:
    • Expediting creation of a PPP think-tank institution as recommended by the Kelkar committee could help.
    • We should look beyond conventional build-operate-transfer models to annuity and investment-lite performance-contracting models.
    • This would require recalibrating risk-sharing, and reworking contracts with clear performance metrics.
  • There is a pressing need for enhanced recapitalization of public sector banks (PSUs) and also divesting the ownership.
  • The government must revise these specific schemes, designed to augment production for exports, to suit the changing global environment and ensure proper functioning.
  • Create supply-side enablers to deepen the infrastructure financing ecosystem:
    • Stalled projects need to be dealt with steadfastly to attract private developers.
    • Building capacity to implement the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code will be crucial.
    • Creating a diversified and resilient financing ecosystem to facilitate a shift from overreliance on bank-led financing.
    • Strengthening bond markets and expeditious deployment of capital under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund can help.
  • CRISIL said that the problem of stressed assets in the banking system to push the investment cycle.
  • India would need to find innovative mechanisms to attract investments into infrastructure to sustain its growth.

Conclusion:

There is an urgent need to activate stalled projects and clean up balance sheets of corporate firms and the banking sector to revive the investment cycle. It is important to revive overall investment — especially in infrastructure —- for balanced growth.

 

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

5.  Do you think that that the Government’s step to divert rice for the production of ethanol is a just decision while the poor are leaving hand to mouth in the country? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The Union government had on Monday approved that surplus rice available with FCI can be used for converting into ethanol to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitizers and also for blending with petrol. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One has to debate over the fact that should India, a country with rampant poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, use food grains for making ethanol.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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:

Present briefly the context of the question.

Body:

One can start deliberating on the fact and justify that diverting rice to produce ethanol during pandemic is unethical. Such diversion of food crops to produce biofuel was considered one of the reasons for the rise in food prices globally. Corn and other grain are also used in feedstock for poultry and cattle and is hence part of the food economy.  It potentially deprives food to humans as well as livestock. At a time when there are fears of a steep fall in national income, a rise in unemployment, and an increase in food inflation due to supply bottlenecks, it is imperative that food security and food price stability be given the highest priority. Highlight the concerns point by point and discuss positives if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced answer.

Introduction:

Surplus rice available with the FCI is allowed to be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and for blending in petrol. Approval in this regard was recently given by the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC). Ethanol produced from this will be used for utilization in making alcohol-based hand sanitizers and blending in petrol. Even sugar mills have simultaneously ramped up hand sanitizer manufacturing capacity to almost 100,000 liters per day to cater its rising demand following the coronavirus outbreak.

Body:

Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a liquid that has several uses. At 95% purity, it is called rectified spirit and is used as the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages. At 99%-plus purity, ethanol is used for blending with petrol. Both products are made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar manufacturing.

Rationale behind the move:

  • The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) took the decision which will lead to utilization of part of a huge stockpile of 30.57 million tonnes (MT) of rice which is almost 128% more than the buffer stock and strategic requirement norms.
  • At present, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has huge rice stock from previous years excluding the unmilled paddy lying with millers on behalf of FCI.
  • Using surplus rice for ethanol will address the concern of about 750 million liters of grain-based distillery capacities lying idle, due to the lack of feedstock.
  • In India, the total capacity of grain-based distilleries is close to 2 billion liters, of which around 38% (750 million liters) was lying unused.
  • The National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 allows conversion of surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol when there is a projected oversupply of food grains.

Possible implications:

  • In 2007-8, about 25 per cent of the corn produced in the US was used for biofuel production. In addition to cereals, oilseed crops like rapeseed, soyabean and sunflower were used for biofuel production. In 2018-19, an astounding 37.6 per cent of the corn produced in the US was used for making ethanol.
  • Such diversion of food crops to produce biofuel was considered one of the reasons for the rise in food prices globally.
  • Corn and other grain is also used in feedstock for poultry and cattle and is hence part of the food economy.
  • India’s position in the Global Hunger Index has slipped nine places. India was placed 102 among the 117 countries ranked in the index in 2019.
  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, found that 38.4 per cent of children under five years are “stunted” (height for age), and 21 per cent are “wasted” (low weight for height). In fact, over a period of 10 years, wasting has increased from 19.8 per cent in NFHS-3 to 21 per cent in NFHS-4.

Concerns raised against the move:

  • This move has been criticized on the grounds that how can the government waste food stock for fuel when the considerable number of the population doesn’t have food and is suffering from malnutrition.
  • On 26th March 2020, the government decided to give 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses free of cost to 800 million people, under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • However, many poor people are unable to get the benefit out of it, due to loopholes in the PDS network.
  • For example, a large chunk of ration card holders may not be eligible for the free grains, as they are not covered under the NFSA.
  • The NFSA, based on the 2011 census, had not factored in the population increase in over nine years, leaving a huge number of people out of its ambit.
  • About 85 per cent of rice is kharif crop, heavily dependent on monsoon. Despite the prediction of a normal monsoon, public interest demands that the basis for the projection of surplus of rice is disclosed. What happens if the monsoon projections go wrong? Will we have to import grain?

Way forward:

  • Ethanol can be produced from other ingredients such as B and C heavy molasses, sugar, sugar syrup, and sugarcane juice.
  • Ethanol has also been blessed with a low GST and enjoys relaxed conditions for inter-state movement if used for blending with petrol.
  • Since the economy faces a bleak prospect due to the impact of COVID-19, the government should first use the food grains to meet the requirement of about 10 to 20 crore people without ration cards.
  • It must provide rice to NGOs at PDS prices, for providing cooked food to migrant labour stuck in cities and it should provide an additional five kg food grains to the poor for six months instead of three months.
  • If the Centre still thinks that the country will still have surplus rice, it must facilitate export to friendly countries which are suffering an adverse impact of COVID-19 on their economies.

 

Topic:  Disaster and disaster management.

6. Is the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ill-suited to be the main economic law of the country? Analyse the need for a pandemic law in the current situation facing the world.(250 words)

Reference:  Business Standard 

Why this question:

The author of the article discusses the lacunae in the DMA 2005 from the economic perspectives. And he highlights the need of a Pandemic Act in future.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need for a pandemic law in the coming future, analyse the gaps in the Disaster management act 2005.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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:

Present brief description of the current situation.

Body:

To start with explain the role of disaster management act, 2005 in the current pandemic situation. Discuss why the economic perspectives are missing in the DMA 2005. Explain the need for pandemic law in the coming future.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 was enacted to provide an institutional mechanism for drawing up prevention, preparedness and response strategies along with holistic implementation of these measures. National Policy on Disaster Management 2009 further elaborated on its mandate while the National Disaster Management Authority, National institute of Disaster management and a National Disaster Response Force were constituted under the Act.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 is a poor vehicle for the conduct of economic policy on a nationwide scale. With the Disaster Management Act as the main economic law in motion today, firms will be risk averse out of the threat of incarceration.

Body:

Role of disaster management act, 2005 in the current pandemic situation:

  • COVID-19 is the first pan India biological disaster being handled by the legal and constitutional institutions of the country.
  • To address the current epidemic outbreak, the Central government has included the Covid-19 outbreak as “Notified Disaster” as a “critical medical condition or pandemic situation” .
  • Though the Constitution of India is silent on the subject ‘disaster’, the legal basis of the DM Act, is Entry 23, Concurrent List of the Constitution “Social security and social insurance”.
  • Entry 29, Concurrent List “Prevention of the extension from one State to another of infectious or contagious diseases or pests affecting men, animals or plants,” can also be used for specific law making.
  • As the Indian economy had started out in early 2020 in reasonably poor shape, there was a lot of concern about this combination, of extreme measures impacting upon a weak economy.
  • While the much needed restoration of normalcy began on April 18 and has gone forward on May 1, the problem of Covid-19 is not an earthquake or a flood; it is not localized and it will not end quickly.

Economic perspectives are missing in the DMA 2005:

  • The use of coercive power of the state has major consequences for the market economy.
  • Economic policy works well when the liabilities for violating rules are of a civil nature. All economic actions are conducted in the pursuit of financial gain, and the threat of a fine which is three times the ill-gotten gain suffices in removing the incentive to violate the law.
  • But the Disaster Management Act imposes criminal liabilities. This will create a strange dynamic between officials’ vs people.
  • Economic policy works well when there is the slow, intellectual, consultative process of understanding problems, undertaking cost benefit analysis, finding the least coercive intervention, and making small moves.
  • Such institutionalized application of mind is born of provisions in laws that establish formal processes for wielding coercive power.
  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005, does not have these checks and balances, as it was never intended to be a key economic law.
  • There are a thousand questions about every element of coercion that need to be clarified through explicit drafting of law, through subordinate legislation and through jurisprudence. That process has not taken place around the Disaster Management Act.
  • As a consequence, there are numerous grey areas about what can be done and what cannot be done. There is considerable discretion with millions of officials, all across the country, in deciding who to permit and who to ban.

Way forward:

  • India is comparable to the European Union in size and heterogeneity; it makes sense to have highly differentiated approaches that reflect local conditions.
  • Rather than a single policy framework for the whole country, we have gone to an approach that respects three different kinds of districts.
  • There is great value in local information, local problem solving, and local control of the social distancing restrictions.
  • Policymakers need to recognize the complexities associated with major economic policy actions that are implemented at the level of the union government through the Disaster Management Act, and find solutions for these problems.
  • While the response of the public health system has been admirable, once the outbreak is contained, Parliament must take immediate steps to review the disaster management laws to create a comprehensive legal regime and appropriate protocols to effectively tackle any future public health crisis.

 

Topic:. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7.  Buddha’s teachings have never been more relevant than in the current times for a world looking for peace, harmony and sustainability. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of Buddha Purnima day being celebrated worldwide today.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the relevance of Buddha’s teachings in contemporary times; its importance in peace, harmony and sustainability.

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:

Present briefly the coming of Buddhism in India, the contributions of Buddha.

Body:

“Buddha” denotes one who as attained enlightenment and had a sense of awakening to build a peaceful, harmonious and just society. Explain how the current crisis is an apt time to revisit his teachings, which can be a guiding light for a world looking for peace, harmony and sustainability. The ongoing COVID pandemic bears testimony to the fact that the complexities of the modern world carry with them more uncertainties and crises. The threats of bioterrorism, climate change, global warming, radicalism, extremism, etc., are shaking the conscience of humanity.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance.

Introduction:

The current crisis is an apt time to revisit his teachings, which can be a guiding light for a world looking for peace, harmony and sustainability. The adoption of the “middle path” by avoiding extreme positions as taught by Buddha leads to realizing the truth which further leads to avoiding conflict, reconciliation of different viewpoints, and achieving consensus.

Body:

Buddha’s life and deeds contain such a powerful message, that their resonance transcends cultures, religions and geographies. His messages are becoming increasingly relevant in the present context and a guiding light for chalking out a sustainable approach for the future.

Importance of Buddhist teachings in India:

  • The influence of Buddhist ideas and symbols on our democracy is both profound and visible.
  • In the Lok Sabha, above the chair of the Speaker are inscribed the words, “Dharma Chakra Pravartanay”, which means ‘“setting in motion the wheel of righteousness”.
  • The Preamble of the Constitution enshrines the principals of liberty, equality and fraternity, whose roots can be traced to Buddhist teachings.
  • In his essay, ‘The Ancient Regime— the State of the Aryan Society’ B R Ambedkar writes: “Buddhism was a revolution. It was as great a Revolution as the French Revolution. Though it began as a religious revolution, it became more than a Religious revolution. It became a Social and Political Revolution.”
  • On several occasions, Ambedkar busted the myths regarding the roots of the principals of liberty, equality and fraternity. He emphasized their origins in the ancient Indian teachings of the Buddha.

Relevance of Buddha’s teachings:

  • The ongoing COVID pandemic bears testimony to the fact that the complexities of the modern world carry with them more uncertainties and crises.
  • The threats of bioterrorism, climate change, global warming, radicalism, extremism, etc, are shaking the conscience of humanity.
  • Since time immemorial, mankind has built up the capability to control natural resources.
  • The greed and impatient attitude towards utilizing these resources have created an imbalance.
  • Reacting to this, nature is more vigorously attacking humanity.
  • The Buddha’s method of introspection and awakening shows the path in these troubling times.
  • The Buddha’s lesson of “Atma Dipo Bhava” — every man can be a light unto himself, a saviour of himself through personal efforts — is apt to alter the individualist approach.
  • The Buddhist approach of righteous behaviour, wisdom, compassion and camaraderie, and the reduction of trishna (greed) offers a set of building blocks for a new world order where violence and conflict are minimised and development takes place without degrading the natural resources.
  • The adoption of the “middle path” by avoiding extreme positions as taught by Buddha leads to realizing the truth which further leads to avoiding conflict, reconciliation of different viewpoints, and achieving consensus.
  • His eight-fold-path has not only transformed the spiritual landscape worldwide but also encouraged ethical and sustainable social, political, and commercial practices.

Conclusion:

It is due to the Buddhist values of compassion and the promotion of peaceful coexistence that the world is looking towards India with hope. His teachings find reflection in the globally-accepted Gandhian ethos. Indian culture and values contain teachings for the inclusive welfare of every creature. This repository of wisdom has given us an advantage and a greater responsibility to act for the betterment of society and the universe at large.

As peace and sustainable development are interlinked, the Buddha’s prism can be the guiding lights to every single stakeholder from local to global institutions and leaders, to work together for promoting dialogue, harmony, and justice based on compassion and wisdom.