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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 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:   Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.

1. In the context of new social movements of Independent India , Discuss the key features of the New Farmer’s movements.(250 words)

Reference: India After Independence Bipin Chandra

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of the New Farmer’s movements in the Modern India.

Key demand of the question:

One has to highlight the specifics of new social movements of independent India and discuss the key features of the New Farmer’s movements.

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:

Start by explaining what constituted new social movements in the independent India.

Body:

Emerging in 1970s and gaining farther momentum in 1980s, the farmers’ movement in India has exposed some newer contradictions of Indian agrarian society. Discuss the key features of these movements in the country.
Pan Indian scope, In contrast to the pre- 1950 peasant movements, which were largely region or district specific or at best had one or two states as their field of operation, the farmers’ movement of the 1970s and 80s has drawn their support, though not well coordinated always, from the farmers all over India except few states like Kerala, West Bengal and the North- East. Hence, farmers’ movement has an almost universal presence throughout the length and breadth of the  country. Uniformity of demands, Common strategies of agitation etc. Discuss specific movements and their leadership.

Conclusion:
Conclude by highlight their significance and their importance even as of today.

Introduction

India has a long history of peasant or farmers’ movement, dating back to the colonial period when farmers in different parts of India revolted against Zamindars, landlords, British colonial masters or powers including feudal lords.

The beginning of the New Farmers’ Movement in general is seen from the decade of 1980s. However, its genesis requires to be stretched back to the earlier decade of 1970s. This was the decade when farmers of green revolution area began to rally around political parties and leaders.

Body

Key Features of New Farmer’s movements

  • Reasons: The major reasons were, terms of trade going against the agriculture, declining purchasing power, un-remunerative prices, agriculture becoming losing proposition, increase in input prices, declining per capita income from agriculture etc.
  • Start of the movement: It all began in Maharashtra when Shetkari Sanghathana under Sharad Joshi, a former employee of UN turned farmer, began agitating in village called Chakan in Pune for remunerative prices for agricultural commodities, particularly for onion. This one point agenda of remunerative prices began to be enacted by farmers in other states of India.
  • Widening Scope: Except for the Maharashtra movement, in other movements, more than remunerative prices the other issues received focus.
    • The list of demands would cover each and every issue of farmers. Many a time the demands of the farmers’ movement would include such issues as remunerative prices, writing off loans, anti-government policy of procurement, levy policy, liberalisation etc.
  • Social Issues: Other than the economic issues, the farmers’ movement also focused on social issues. In this respect the experiment done by the Karnataka Farmers’ Movement under Raitha Sangha and Maharashtra movement under Shetkari Sanghathana are noteworthy.
    • Both tried to address the issues of gender or women by organising massive rallies.
    • The Maharashtra movement attempted to give women the property rights under the programme called “Lakshmi Mukhti”.
    • The Karnataka movement, on the contrary, organised a massive rally in Haliyal in 1983 for the purpose of shifting property relations at the rural side.
    • Further, the Karnataka movement organised thousands of simple, inter-caste marriages etc.
    • In fact women’s issues were interwoven in its various struggles too. For example, in its anti-social forestry, prohibition struggle, women’s issues were prominent.
  • Local to global: One of the unique features of farmers’ movements is that they moved from local to global.
    • When globalisation was making serious inroads, some of the organisations went to support or oppose globalisation for various reasons.
    • Those who opposed globalisation, particularly Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Bharatiya Kisan Union of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, argued that globalisation would destroy the identities of peasantry, introduce western hegemony, destroy cultural life style, take away the right to produce, distribute and exchange agricultural commodities etc.
    • On the contrary those who supported globalisation saw in globalisation an answer to rural backwardness, agricultural prosperity, and capitalist development.

Why is it called “New” Farmers Movement?

  • The movement is economistic;
  • The movement believes in secularism;
  • It believes as well as resorts to constitutional means such as agitations and dharna. Infact the Maharashtra movement added new dimension to agitational politics. It introduced new strategies such as Gav Bhandi.
  • It refused to glorify neither the pastoral agrarian pattern nor “has any nostalgic attachment to an idealized romantic view of the village life before the advent of industrialisation” (Sharad Joshi, 1986, p.312).
  • The farmers’ movement believed in having a distinct worldview. This is called “positive liberalism”.

Shortcomings of the movement

  • They have not been effective in bringing radical transformation in the country side. This is because of the fact that the movements, from the very beginning, were unable to overcome the internal conflicts as well as contradictions.
  • Secondly, they did not carry any radical agenda from within- for example they never bothered to demand radical land reforms, nor were they concerned about the atrocities perpetrated on marginal classes including the Dalits in the country side.
  • Since the movements, from the very beginning, were identified with rich or market-oriented farmers, the other categories received scant focus in their politics.
  • This is the reason why they have been losing their social bases.
  • Further, their operational areas are confined to those localities wherein the classes of rich or market-oriented farmers have come to stay. This has further reduced their areas of operation.

Conclusion

Despite a few differences the new farmers’ movement did bring about a paradigm shift in the discourse, analysis and perception about farmers in India. It made the policy makers to address the deep rooted crisis of agriculture as well as agrarian classes in India. It has also helped the farmers to be a part of international movement against such issues as globalisation, imperialism and capitalism.

  

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.

2. Discuss specific challenges that were witnessed especially during the integration of North-East India post-independence.(250 words)

Reference:  India After Independence Bipin Chandra

Why this question:

The question is specific to the challenges faced during integration of North-East India post-independence.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail what were the challenges faced integration of North-East India post-independence.

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:

Explain in short the context of the question.

Body:

Start by explaining how the regional aspirations of the North-East became the focal point of the north-east and gained prominence in the 80’s. Explain/list down the various challenges of North-east that were against the cause of Integration such as demand for autonomy, movements against outsiders, secessionist movements etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the recent movements too and that even after integration the region remains still disconnected from the mainland in many terms.

Introduction

The history of the Indian nation-state is a history of integration of diverse ethnic groups. Different methods were used to integrate the princely states of Manipur and Tripura and the adjoining hills areas of Assam which now combine the present day Northeastern region.

Body

Background

  • Before 1947, the whole of North- East India, excluding Manipur and Tripura was Assam.
  • However, immediately after independence fissiparous forces lead to the dismemberment of greater Assam resulting in the formation of seven North- Eastern sisters, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura
  • Geographically, this region is almost isolated from the rest of India.
  • North- East is strategically important and is girdled by Tibet, Bhutan, China, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Bangladesh.
  • It is linked to the rest of the country by a narrow Siliguri corridor in West Bengal.

Challenges witnessed in North-East India post-Independence

Northeast India is the homeland of large number of ethnic groups who came to the region from different directions at different historical times. These groups belong to the different racial stocks, speak different languages, and have varied socio cultural tradition. As a result the region has become the epicenter of numerous ethnic nationalities.

  • Isolation: More important than the geographical isolation and seeds of separateness during the colonial rule is the cultural chasm and lack of psychological integration with the rest of the country that makes for the distinctiveness of the region.
    • The nationalist struggle for freedom which otherwise unified the diverse Indian population did not touch the Northeast.
    • The region remained immune to the process of ‘Indianness.’
  • Ethnic Strife: The profound economic and political changes in the wake of independence created a sense of unease among the tribal population of the region.
    • Eg: Brus were displaced from Mizoram to Tripura.
    • Feelings grew that the tribal traditions would be submerged into the mainstream and a new sense of identity and political consciousness led the tribal communities to differentiate themselves from the heartland. Eg AASU agitation
  • Demographic transformation
    • During the post Bangladesh era, the All Assam Student‘s Union (AASU) started a movement called Bideshi Khedao Movement which is also known as Assam Movement.
    • The movement was actually triggered by the discovery of sudden rise of registered voters in the electoral rolls in 1970s.
  • Insurgency and violence
    • The region witnessed the emergence of a number of extremist organizations challenging the sovereignty and integrity of the Indian state.
    • These include United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland, National Socialist Council of Nagalim, Kuki National Army, Garo Liberation Front, Bru National Liberation Front, National Liberation Front of Tripura etc.
    • The demands of these extremist groups vary from autonomy to secessionism and sovereignty.
  • State autonomy and secessionism
    • The crisis of Naga identity and the Mizo movement was the outcome of the neglect of Central and state governments during the famine.
    • Mizoram was carved out of Assam first as a union territory and later was given statehood.
    • The Naga insurgency was a call for creation of Greater Nagalim as a land for the indigenous people.
  • Trans-border migration from Bangladesh is a major factor for the problems in Assam and other areas of the North East.
    • The point that Bangladesh immigrants are a source of communal and ethnic tension was well proved by the Assam agitation and subsequent events.
    • There are estimated to be 15 to 18 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in India, who have spread to all the North Eastern States with bulk of them being in Assam.
  • Social exclusion: For instance, it is argued that ―claims to ethno-nationalism of the Bodos can be interpreted as closely intertwined with issues of institutional and social exclusion based on language politics.

Conclusion

With the dawn of the new century, the decades old fighting slowly receded and the Indian government has been successful in bringing the warring factions into confidence. Different peace treaties were signed in return for laying down arms. In recent times the focus has been on economic development which is believed to go a long way in mainstreaming north-east on par with the rest of India.

 

Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3. Do you agree that the COVID-19 situation across the world has opened up pressures and Opportunities for Quad plus in the African continent? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is based on the article that discusses the opportunities that the present Covid situation throws at the Quad-Plus in harnessing the potential of the African content.

Key demand of the question:

Students have to discuss in detail the possible pressures and Opportunities for Quad plus in the African continent.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon the current situation across the world in a line or two.

Body:

Start by explaining how the pandemic is a colossal challenge but it may create opportunities to deepen India’s engagement with Africa. Discuss the India’s engagement with Africa, elucidate upon the Quad plus and its role currently in the African continent. Take hints from the article and draw positives as well as the possible challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

India has been closely associated with Africa on account of its shared colonial past and rich contemporary ties. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become all the more significant to engage with the most vulnerable continent to mitigate human suffering and crisis. A Quad plus arrangement with Africa can help India emerge as a global leader and a steadfast development partner.

Body

India-Africa bilateral relations in recent years

  • India-Africa trade reached $62 billion in 2018 compared to $39 billion during 2009-10.
  • After South Asia, Africa is the second-largest recipient of Indian overseas assistance with Lines of Credit (LOC) worth nearly $10 billion (42 per cent of the total) spread over 100 projects in 41 countries.
  • Ties were boosted at the India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in 2015.
  • Forty per cent of all training and capacity building slots under the ITEC programme have traditionally been reserved for Africa.
  • Approximately 6,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in UN peace-keeping missions in five conflict zones in Africa.
  • Bilateral cooperation includes solar energy development, information technology, cyber security, maritime security, disaster relief, counter-terrorism and military training.
  • India has also launched several initiatives to develop closer relations, including the first-ever India Africa Defence Ministers conclave in February 2020 on the margins of the Defence Expo 2020.
  • India provides about 50,000 scholarships to African students each year. The huge Indian diaspora is a major asset.

Considering the robust ties with Africa, India must now engage with the continent more pro-actively especially during the times of pandemic that can ravage human security and livelihoods in Africa.

Opportune moment for Quad plus arrangement with Africa

  • India has already despatched medical assistance to 25 African countries. Health is an important area of cooperation, as there is shortfall of healthcare workers and infrastructure in Africa.
  • India could consider structuring a series of virtual summits in zonal groups with African leaders across the continent over the next few months that could both provide a platform for a cooperative response to the pandemic and also serve as a precursor to the actual summit in the future.
  • India is a development partner unlike China. China’s engagement of Africa, as elsewhere, is huge but increasingly regarded as predatory and exploitative.
  • The Ministry of External Affairs has already extended the e-ITEC course on “COVID-19 Pandemic: Prevention and Management Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals” to healthcare workers in Africa.
  • The Aarogya Setu App and the E-Gram Swaraj App for rural areas for mapping COVID-19 are technological achievements that could be shared with Africa.
  • Since the movement of African students to India for higher education has been disrupted, India may expand the e-VidyaBharti (tele education) project to establish an India-Africa Virtual University.
  • Agriculture and food security can also be a fulcrum for deepening ties. With the locust scourge devastating the Horn of Africa and the pandemic worsening the food crisis, India could ramp up its collaboration in this sector.
  • India could also create a new fund for Africa and adapt its grant-in-aid assistance to reflect the current priorities.
    • This could include support for new investment projects by Indian entrepreneurs especially in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors in Africa.
  • India’s engagement with Africa during pandemic: The Prime Minister has had a telephonic talk with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa who is the current chairperson of the African Union, and separately others such as the presidents of Uganda and Ethiopia.
    • Minister of External Affairs has also reached out to counterparts in Africa to reiterate India’s support in the fight against the coronavirus.

Conclusion

Both India and Japan share a common interest in forging a partnership for Africa’s development. The COVID-19 crisis has nudged many countries to engage in new formats. It is time for the Quad Plus, in which the US, India, Japan and Australia have recently engaged other countries such as the ROK, Vietnam, New Zealand, Israel and Brazil, to exchange views and propose cooperation with select African countries abutting the Indian Ocean. After all, the Indo-Pacific straddles the entire maritime space of the Indian Ocean. The pandemic is a colossal challenge but it may create fresh opportunities to bring India and Africa closer together.

 

Topic:Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

4. Evaluate the constitutional right of freedom of trade for Indian farmers. Do you think their freedom to market their produce at a place of their choice has been compromised in the country? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question aims to evaluate the constitutional right of freedom of trade for Indian farmers and its true realization in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the issues farmers have been facing in realizing their constitutional right of freedom of trade.

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:

Start by discussing importance of Freedom for farmers to trade their produce.

Body:

Indian Farmers sell their products at Local Market, APMC, and MSP. Explain in what way the Essential commodities Act, 1955 and APMC Acts of States are the major reasons for the decline of rights of Farmers to sell their produce at the price of their choice. Mention the difficulties faced by farmers initially, acts hindering their marketing freedom. Suggest solutions to address the issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

A study on agricultural policies in India by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2018), concluded that the restrictions on agricultural marketing amounted to ‘implicit taxation’ on farmers to the tune of ₹45 lakh crore from 2000-01 to 2016-17.

The restrictive trade and marketing policies being practised with respect to agricultural prices have substantially eroded the incomes of farmers.

Body

Challenges faced by farmers to market their produce

  • Restrictive Laws: The Essential Commodities Act, 1955, and the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts of the States are the principle sources of violation of the rights of farmers to sell their produce at a price of their choice.
    • These two laws severely restrict the options of farmers to sell their produce. Farmers continue to be the victims of a buyers’ market.
    • This is the principal cause of their exploitation.
  • Contradictory Objectives
    • India’s agriculture policies have had multiple mandates, including a production imperative (national food security), a consumer imperative (keeping food prices low for a large low-income population), and a farmer welfare imperative (raising farmer’s income).
    • Tensions between these mandates have resulted in costly, contradictory policies whose costs have been increasingly borne by farmers, the government purse, and the natural environment.
  • Lower income: Their farm incomes are at the mercy of markets, middlemen and money lenders.
    • For every rupee that a farmer makes, others in the supply chain get much more.
    • Both farmers and consumers are the sufferers of the exploitative procurement and marketing of farm produce.
  • Consumer Oriented Policies: Whenever there is a price rise in any agricultural commodity, the government imposes restrictions on exports to protect Indian consumers.
    • It creates hindrances for farmers taking advantage of high prices in foreign markets.
    • This, coupled with the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), has meant lower private investment in export infrastructure such as warehouses and cold storage systems.
    • This lack of storage infrastructure compels farmers to go for Distress sale.

Recent measures taken to alleviate farmer issues

  • Agri-Infrastructure: The agricultural cooperative societies, farmer producer organizations (FPOs), and start-ups will be given funds worth ₹1 lakh crores to encourage farm-gate infrastructure.
    • This is to develop cold chain storage and other post-harvest management infrastructure at the farm gate and aggregation points.
    • Recently announced package has approximately ₹4 lakh crore support for farming and allied sectors, aimed at improving infrastructure and enhancing credit support.
  • Legislative reforms: The Essential Commodities Act, 1955, will be amended to de-regulate cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onion, and potato.
    • Reforms in the Agri-Marketing are to be given serious concern to provide adequate choice to farmers for selling their produce at fair prices.
    • Laws to bring in Contract farming can help establish forward and backward linkage for agriculture and realisation of better farm incomes. It will help with modern technology adoption as well.
    • APMC laws will be amended, so that farmers will be free to sell their produce anywhere, even to private players directly. This will encourage more private mandis to be set up, where farmers will get better price for their crops without being victim to cartelization.
    • The above three reforms will create all India market for farmers to sell their produce.
  • Support to animal husbandry and fisheries: The fishermen will be allocated ₹20,000 crore under PM Matsya Sampada Yojana.
    • This underlines the need for diversifying the income sources of farmers.
    • The fish production is expected to grow more than 70 lakh tonnes over 5 years with this fund allocation.
    • The beekeeping segment has been assigned ₹500 crores.
    • This will augment income sources especially for the tribal people who live on minor forest produce. Skill development in bee-keeping has also been a major focus in recent times.

Way Forward

  • While allowing several buyers to directly access the produce from the farmers, a strong and effective network of Farm Producers’ Organisations should be created to enhance the bargaining power of farmers.
    • This will ensure that individual farmers are not exploited.
  • Freeing up input prices to market levels, or charging an optimum cost pricing for fertilisers, power, agri-credit, and canal waters fees.
  • Channelizing the resulting savings for expenditures on investments in agricultural R&D, irrigation, marketing infrastructure, building value chains by involving Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and linking farms to organised retail, food processing, and export markets.
  • Direct income transfers to farmers’ should be promoted by leveraging the trinity of Jan Dhan–Aadhaar–Mobile (JAM) to reduce the leakages and pilferage.
  • The Model Land Lease Act, 2016 offers an appropriate template for the states and UTs to draft their own piece of legislations, in consonance with the local requirements and adopt an enabling Act
    • In remote dry areas, leasing land to solar or wind power companies could provide farmers with relatively higher and steadier incomes.
  • Robust agriculture exports will increase the demand for India’s farm output (and hence, incomes of farmers).

Conclusion

It is time to allow the farmers to sell their produce anywhere, in return for the highest bidder All stakeholders should be taken on board while revising restrictive agri-marketing laws. The reforming of laws will not ony help farmers get better income but also help consumers who are also most hit by the current slowdown and pandemic. The target of achieving Doubling Farmers income by 2022 will be closer to being successful.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Disaster and disaster management.

5. Locust invasion can inflict destruction on the lives of thousands of farmers in the country. Discuss the essential measures to combat the pest attack to avert losses. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The threat of locusts, which have invaded vast swathes of land in Rajasthan and entered neighboring Madhya Pradesh, is bigger this year in comparison with the damage caused to standing crops in a limited area in 2019.Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the issue of Locust invasion and suggest measures to be taken to address the possible losses that they may cause to the agrarian system 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:

One can start with facts such as – The tropical grasshoppers have been crossing over to India via Pakistan’s Sindh province since April 2020.

Body:

In short talk about the locust storms in general, their onset every year and why it is different this year. Discuss what have been the challenges due to it this year, what it means to farmers and agriculture and food system vis-à-vis security of the country. Suggest what needs to be done to overcome the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction

Indian authorities are helping farmers mount a pesticide spraying campaign to fight the swarms of desert locusts which have already devastated crops across Pakistan and East Africa. About 42,000 hectares (104,000 acres) of cotton, summer pulses and vegetable crops have been affected by locusts across six states, mainly in Rajasthan, said Mohapatra.

Body

Background: About Locust

  • The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a short-horned grasshopper.
  • Harmless when solitary, locusts undergo a behavioural change when their population builds up rapidly.
  • They enter the ‘gregarious phase’ by forming huge swarms that can travel up to 150 km per day, eating up every bit of greenery on their way.
  • These insects feed on a large variety of crops. If not controlled, locust swarms can threaten the food security of a country.
  • Reason for Early Arrival: This can be traced back to the cyclonic storms Mekunu and Luban that had struck Oman and Yemen respectively in 2018.
    • These turned large deserts tracts into lakes, facilitating locust breeding that continued through 2019.
    • Swarms attacking crops in East Africa reached peak populations from November, 2019.
    • They built up in southern Iran and Pakistan since the beginning of 2020, with heavy rains in East Africa in March-April enabling further breeding.
  • Institution Responsible: As a result of the 1926-1931/1932 locust plague, India, under the British Raj at the time, began research into the desert locust, beginning in 1931.
    • It then led to the establishment, in 1939, of a permanent Locust Warning Organization (LWO), with a station in Karachi (undivided India).
    • Its main job was to keep out an eye for a specific sub-species of the insect, the desert locust, that sprang into the region from the Thar desert.

Impact of Locus invasion

  • Crop Damage:
    • At present, chances of crop damage are low given that farmers have already harvested their rabi crop.
    • Orange growers in Maharashtra have expressed concern but as per scientists of the Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organization (LWO), the swarm in Maharashtra would be easy to control.
  • Burgeoning Population and swarms:
    • The bigger problem will come once the present swarms breed. An adult female locust lays 80-90 eggs thrice in her three-month life cycle.
    • If left uncontrolled, a swarm can grow exponentially to 40-80 million locusts per square kilometre.
  • Destruction of plant growth:
    • Locusts attack all sorts of vegetations, including farms, wiping everything out in their wake
    • Locusts devour leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, bark and growing points, and also destroy plants by their sheer weight as they descend on them in massive numbers.
    • A small swarm of the desert locust eats on an average as much food in one day as about 10 elephants, 25 camels, or 2,500 people.
  • Past experience: During the 1940-46 and 1949-55 locust plague cycles, the damage was estimated at Rs 2 crore per cycle, and at Rs 50 lakh during the last locust plague cycle (1959-62).
  • Locust Breeding and Kharif crop:
    • The locusts will start laying eggs after the monsoon starts and continue breeding for two more months, with newer generations rising during the growth phase of the kharif crop.
  • Food Security in Peril: Reports of crop damages have been pouring in from states as farmers try and get rid of locusts by smoking them out, scaring them away by making loud noises or spraying chemicals.
  • If locust attacks of this proportion continue unabated, the insects will wipe out lakhs of tones of food grains and vegetables meant for human consumption.

Measures to combat Locust Infestation

  • A locust attack has to be dealt with by spraying pest control and plant protection chemicals.
  • According to the FAO’s locust situation bulletin of May 27, adult locusts were forming groups and small swarms in spring breeding areas in Baluchistan, Indus Valley (Pakistan) and southern coast and parts of Sistan-Baluchistan.
  • In India, existing groups of swarms have continued to move east and to the central States of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Much of these movements were associated with the strong westerly winds of Cyclone Amphan.
  • Several successive waves of invasions are likely until July in Rajasthan, with eastward surges across northern India as far as Bihar and Odisha followed by westward movements and a return to Rajasthan on the changing winds associated with the monsoon.
  • These movements will cease as swarms begin to become less mobile. The swarms are less likely to reach Nepal, and Bangladesh and south India, according to experts.

Conclusion

Experience shows that a locust plague usually follows a one to two year cycle after which there is a lull for eight to nine years. However, strong Indian Ocean Dipoles are expected to become more frequent whetted by an overall trend of warming oceans. This phenomenon could trigger regular locust infestations.

 

Topic:  ethical issues in international relations and funding

6. At the international level, the bilateral relations between most nations are governed on the policy of promoting one’s own national interest without any Regard for the interest of other nations. This leads to conflicts and tensions Between the nations. How can ethical consideration help resolve such Tensions? Evaluate with specific examples.(250 words)

Why this question:

The question is premised on the theme of ethics in international relations.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the relevance of ethical considerations in resolving the conflicts and tensions at the international and bilateral relations.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define first the nuances of the question.

Body:

Explain that in the quest or pursuit of nations’ interests’ morality and ethics often take the backseat. However it’s important for the modern nations to moderate their positions so as to avoid conflicts and bloodshed. One can give recent examples from the bilateral or international relations, may be one involving India ad depict the significance of ethics.

Conclusion:

Conclude that ethics and morality cannot be ignored when the stakes of the entire world are put across.

Introduction

Ethical questions are central to the study of international relations, as it is a field of study concerned with war and peace, trade and production, and law and rights. Yet, a persistent conventional wisdom suggests ethics are marginal to international relations.

Realists believe that International relations is solely based on power and national interest and has no place for morality. In the words of Thucydides “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.”

Body

Do Ethical considerations have a say in international relations?

To answer this question, realists and idealists have an ongoing debate. But since the second world war, the debate was settled largely in favour of the realists.

Hans Morgenthau, gave 6 principles of Realism in International Relations

  • Politics is governed by Objective Laws which have roots in Human Nature:
    • The first principle of political realism holds that “politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature.” Humans are power seeking by nature and so are the states.
  • National Interest defined in terms of National Power:
    • No considerations of Moral Imperatives when it comes to national interest. For eg: Even though India espoused Panchsheel principles, China went to war with India in 1962 without as much of a warning.
  • National Interest is always dynamic and it keeps changing. Eg: Russia had imposed arms embargo on Pakistan by being a friend to India, which was lifted recently.
  • Abstract Moral Principles cannot be applied to Politics:
    • Politics is not ethics and the ruler is not a moralist. The primary function of a state is to satisfy and protect the demands of national interest by means of national power.
  • No universal moral principle in International relations
    • Political realism refuses to identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral principles that govern the universe. It refuses to accept that the national interests and policies of any particular nation reflect universally applied moral principles.
  • Autonomy of International Relations: It is neither ethics nor law or economics. It is an autonomous discipline where national interest reigns supreme.

However, it must be noted that, it is without the element of morality that USA decided to use nuclear bomb on Japan. Only after this plan was executed, the world became aware of the devastating consequences that had ensued. Below are examples that highlight this norm.

  • The alleged just war cause where a country thinks it’s their moral responsibility to save the world. E.g.: USA and Iraq war.
  • Threat to the Rules-based order of the world by sidelining of the Global bodies like UNSC, WTO such as USA. Pursuing unilateralism and Protectionism goes against the ideall of Rules-based international world order.
  • China’s dominance in the South China Sea and it’s policy of “Debt-Trap diplomacy”, “Island-encirclement” and “String of Pearls” show that there is no adherence to morality.

How Ethical Considerations help in International Relations?

  • Rights and Responsibilities: The UNPeackeeping mission is based on the principle of universal peace. This is the responsibility of the Security Council and all the nations to maintain universal peace. India believes in this ideology and has been the largest cumulative troop contributing nation.
  • Equality : Ethics aim at “Peaceful World”, “Respect for All” & “Equality” while forming international organizations, declarations & forums. E.g.: The demand for equality in IMF & UNO shows the demand of adhering to ethics in a way.
  • Resolving Tensions: Ethics helps to avoid the “Ego Clash” & “Ideological Clash” between two or more nations. For instance, the disruption between India & Pakistan relations can be avoided if both take a decision based on ethics.
  • Solidarity: Natural disasters and refugee crisis situations require a more compassionate view of the global community. These are not isolated events and rather, the duty of every global citizen to help in the times of crisis. g.- Aid during natural disasters (Nepal earthquake)
  • Human rights: Adherence to human rights is vital after the Decalaration of Human Rights in the UN Charter. Eg- lack of ethics in the international relation has been the cause of wars & genocide many times in history (Rawnda and Burundi) and also like the first world war.

Conclusion

International ethic is not just an ethic of some leading country, it is not simply an ethic of a powerful country having obligations towards others, because of the power they have over others. International ethics may be elaborated as, that which enables one to participate more actively in shaping and building good international community. The vision of international community that every country has and reality of an international community provides us with food for thought, on what ought to be the nature and purpose of investing in international relations to build an international community.

 

Topic:  Right to Information

7. Some critics argue that because of the RTI Act senior officers have stopped recording their views frankly on files. Discuss this view.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by G SubbaRao and P N Chowdhary

Why this question:

The question is based on the lop sides of the RTI Act and in what way it has loopholes that have led to incomplete realization of transparency and accountability in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain and highlight the loopholes in the RTI Act of the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining the context of RTI Act in the country.

Body:

RTI Act mainly aims at transparency and making government information public. Discuss why it is still being criticized; list down the points that have led to the compromise of the views of the senior RTI officials. Suggest what needs to be done to overcome these loopholes. What actions need to be taken?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

One of the most debatable and important concerns raised in respect of RTI Act from the very beginning is regarding disclosure of file noting. The government and bureaucracy are concerned over the exposure of file noting to the public that “It will act adversely against the requirement of free and frank opinion by the public officials in decision making process”.

In this context it would be appropriate to mention that file noting are ad hoc written notes added to file by officials and thus can give a critical insight into the government decision-making process. F

Body

File noting are very important when it comes to the policy making of the government. It is these notes that hold the rationale behind actions or the change in certain policy, why a certain contract is given or why a sanction was withheld to prosecute a corrupt official.

Have senior officials stopped recorded their views frankly Due to RTI Act?

Yes

  • When the RTI Act was being formulated, it was said that even President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was also believed to have expressed reservations about making all notings public because officials should be able to record their views frankly.
  • Making it public would make them come under the radar of public, but without the insight of why such decision were taking and the context surrounding the same.
  • This would lead to false prosecution of honest officials or erroneous penalizing the concerned officer.
  • Another reason is that, officials don’t record their views frankly to prevent embarrassment to the government or their political bosses and fearing retribution.
  • It is in this context that many senior officials have stopped recording their views frankly.

Critical Analysis

  • The argument that public access to file notings would impede frank expression of views by officers is a seriously flawed one.
  • Former PM VP Singh had said that, the truth is that officers are pressured to record notings contrary to their convictions or opinions, or those not in keeping with public interest or the law, NOT by the public but their bureaucratic and political bosses. These bosses already have access to file notings and do not need the RTI Act to access them.
  • On the contrary, the disclosure of file notings would help ensure that officers are not pressured into recording notes that are not in public interest. This would strengthen the hands of the honest and conscientious officers and expose the dishonest and self-serving ones.
  • Compulsion of disclosure of file noting will reduce to a great extent the administrative culture of putting something as part of record on dictation or in a mechanical manner. Disclosure of file noting may also be considered from the point of view of the promoting the overall culture of good administrative practice.

Case Study

  • The Commission first allowed access to file notings on January 31, 2006, in the Satyapal case. It’s reasoning was impeccable.
  • Firstly, that file notings were essential to understand why the Government came to a particular decision: “Governmental decisions are mostly based on the recording in note sheets and even decisions are recorded on the note sheets. No file would be complete without note sheets having file notings”.
  • And secondly, that the Act as it stood permitted access to file notings: a combined reading of sections 2(f), (1) and (j) would indicate that a citizen has the right of access to a file of which file notings are an integral part.

Conclusion

The RTI story on the ground is the story of small successes. It is about men and women who got their entitlements by filing or just threatening to file an application under the Act. There is a need for sustained publicity to the “success stories” of benefits derived by the citizens aggrieved by the public authorities. Existing system of redressing public grievances was unable to resolve the problems faced by the aggrieved persons and therefore RTI has been able to help the aggrieved citizens.