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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 June 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. The Freedom Struggle —  its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. “The participation of Northeast in India’s freedom struggle is a tale of velour and courage which started in the 19th century”. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian modern history by Spectrum publications  

Why the question:

The North-East threw up constant challenges to the British hegemony in India and the question aims to analyse the same.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss British rule in India and how it affected the North East and in return how did the north east people fight back with great courage and velour.

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:

Introduce about the British rule in India and how it affected the North East.

Body:

One can start by highlighting the different anti-colonial struggles in the North-East. Explain the early stage of national struggle. Initially the rebellions were spontaneous in nature with it mostly involving disbanded rulers, disgruntled landlords and tribals who were evicted from their lands. But later in the 20th century, the struggles followed the patterns of the national movements being an inherent part of them. Talk about the Ahom revolt, khasi revolt etc. and justify the question statement. Also discuss contributions of individual leaders.

Conclusion:

Despite the significant contributions of the North-East, unfortunately history continues to discard and ignore their brave nationalists. The govt must take immediate steps to commemorate the contributions of these ‘forgotten heroes’.

Introduction:

“Martyrdom does not end anything, it only a beginning”.  The axiomatic truth in the words of late Mrs. Indira Gandhi finds full reflection in the roles played by people of North-east in Indian freedom struggle. The Northeast participation in India’s freedom struggle is a tale of valor and courage which started in the 19th century itself with a mass peasant uprising against the British and resistance by the hill people. The political events in the rest of the country culminating in Independence in 1947, found a strong support and response in this region.

Ten freedom fighters from the Northeast that include three women, who are largely unfamiliar to the rest of the country, were honoured by the central government as part of the 70th Independence Day celebrations.

Body:

The establishment of British power in North East India was a prolonged process of piecemeal conquest consolidation and colonization of the economy since 1826. There had been an awareness of the exploitative nature of the colonial rule initially for the collection of revenue. With the discovery of tea, coal and petroleum in subsequent times, the exploitation became severe.

The popular resistance took the form of civil rebellions, tribal uprisings and peasant movements in North East India. The tribals in North East India organized militant outbreaks against foreign rules since the beginning of 19th century.

The course of struggle:

  • Ahom Revolt:
    • The Northeast region of India went into the hands of the British starting with the occupation of Assam in 1826, after a decade of Burmese control of the land.
    • Till then, the region remained mostly independent of the control of the Delhi Sultanate or any other external power.
    • Assam especially faced many incursions, but thwarted them.
    • Thus the independent spirit of the Assamese people showed in the immediate challenge to the British rule by a group of the erstwhile nobility led by Gomdhar Konwar.
    • Their attempt, however, was suppressed in 1828 and Gomdhar and his associates were imprisoned.
    • One of his associates Piyali Borphukan was hanged.
  • Khasi revolt:
    • Meanwhile, British expansion to the hills faced fierce resistance by the hill tribes.
    • The Khasis led by U Tirat Sing fought valiantly against the British from 1829 to 1833.
    • However, the resistance finally succumbed to the British and Tirat Sing was imprisoned in Dhaka jail.
    • Between the 1830s and 1860s, the hill tribes such as the Singphos, Khamtis, Nagas, Garos, etc., offered stiff challenge to the British expansionist policies toward the hills, causing heavy losses to the latter.
    • The effect of 1857 was also felt in Assam and Maniram Dewan, the first Indian tea planter, who initially helped the British expand the tea industry in Assam but fell out with them subsequently, was the key figure in the plans to drive out the British from Assam.
    • However, these plans were foiled and Maniram and Piyali Barua were hanged in 1858.
    • Many close associates of theirs such as Bahadur Gaonburha and Farmud Ali were arrested and interned.
  • Phulaguri peasant uprising:
    • In 1861, the peasant uprising at Phulaguri of Nagaon district of central Assam against the repressive agricultural policies of the British government heralded a new era of peasant protest in the state.
    • Hundreds of peasants, tribal and non-tribal, had marched to the district headquarters to submit their petition to the Deputy Commissioners (DC) regarding their grievances.
    • But the DC behaved with them abrasively and refused to entertain the peasants’ request.
    • The infuriated peasants met at a series of traditional raij mels (people’s assemblies) to deliberate on the future course of action.
    • the infuriated peasants attacked the police with their lathis and killed Assistant Commissioner Lt.Singer.
    • The armed peasants, however, could not withstand when the military launched an attack on them the next day. Thirty nine peasants were killed, many wounded and 41 were arrested.
    • Though most of the peasants in Phulaguri upsurge belonged to the Tiwa and Kachari tribes, peasants of other castes, especially from the Koch and the Kaibarta (fishermen) community, were also involved.
  • Assam Riots:
    • After the Phulaguri uprising, the peasantry of the districts of Darrang and Kamrup stood against the oppressive increase in land revenue by the British government, again through the instrumentality of the raij-mels.
    • When the land revenue was raised by almost 80%, these resentments culminated in the violent protests of 1892-94 in various parts of the adjoining areas of Kamrup and Darrang districts by the peasants known as ‘Assam Riots’ in the colonial administrative parlance.
    • The popular peasant movement of the period started with the Phulaguri upsurge and were rounded off with the uprising at Patharughat in the Darrang district which witnessed a series of mels where peasants vented anger against the government and pledged not to pay the increased land revenue.
    • With the brutal suppression of the peasants at Patharughat, the violent peasant insurgencies in Assam came to an end and the middle class Assamese elites now rallied around an association called Sarbajanik Sabha which believed in addressing the problems of the local population through petition, memorandum etc., to the colonial administration rather than coming in direct confrontation with the latter.
  • Other revolts:
    • Meanwhile, the British made a number of expeditions to the hills of the present day Arunachal Pradesh to dominate the tribes like the Abors, (now called Adis), Akas (now called Hrussos), and so on.
    • The latter fought hard but were subdued by the superior firepower and policies of the British. In early 1891, the British attempt at intervening in the affairs of the Manipur kingdom faced staunch opposition from the prince Tikendrajit Singh and others.
    • This followed the killing of a number of senior British officials.
    • The British then resorted to a big military expedition to defeat the Manipuri force.

The contribution of North East Indians continued till India got her independence with the likes of Rani Gaidinliu (Nagaland), Kanakalata Baruah (Assam), Kushal Konwar(Assam), Moje Riba (Arunachal Pradesh), Trilochan Pokhrel (Sikkim) and many more bravehearts fought valiantly against the British Imperialism.

Conclusion:

Deep buried in oblivion, the tales of fortitude and indomitable spirit come alive only in the teachings of classrooms but fail to mesmerize posterity with inspiration. The teeming millions in the rest parts in India are not even aware about the sacrifice of these noble people from north-east, who laid down their lives for their motherland fighting against the British imperialism. Unfortunately, the brave daughters and sons from the soil of north-eastern states are yet to get recognition from the people of India for the courageous leadership in the battle of freedom against the British. Some of the legends fought valiantly against British imperialism till their last drop of blood.

 

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

2. Discuss the impact of US’s withdrawal from the Persian Gulf region, How will it strain on regional security structure? Critically examine the impact.(250 words)

Reference :  The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article talks about the Persian Gulf and the importance of security in the region.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the impact of US’s withdrawal from the Persian Gulf region, How will it strain on regional security structure.

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:

Start by talking about the Persian Gulf region, its geography, political relevance, history etc.

Body:

Highlight the historical control in this region by different empires. Bring out the reasons that have led to tensions in the area; The region is also known for its unrest because of two reasons: Many powers act in the region to influence countries creating proxy command centres. The sectarian divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran; Leading to clashes and heightened tensions. Then discuss the role of US, Regional Instability and changed priorities of USA. Discuss the impact of it.  Highlight the impact of it on India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The current adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s economic relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) countries has now become a matter of concern. In this scenario, India’s interests would be best served if stability in the Persian Gulf littoral region is ensured properly.

Body:

saudi

Geo-strategic importance of Persian Gulf region:

  • The lands around the Persian Gulf are shared by eight countries- Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • These countries are major producers of crude oil and natural gas, and thereby contribute critically to the global economy and to their own prosperity.
  • The area has approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated proven oil reserves and one-third of the world’s estimated proven natural gas reserves.
  • This factor has added to their geopolitical significance.
  • A considerable amount of sea trade passes through the gulf, leading to heavy traffic in the region.

Possible impact of US’s withdrawal from the Persian Gulf region:

  • With the Islamic State mostly defeated and the threat of terrorism on the decline, the thinking goes, the United States no longer needs an active presence in the region. The U.S. is finally drawing down its military presence from Iraq.
  • The U.S. has been waging war in the Gulf for more than two and a half decades, since it took up arms against Iran in the closing stages of the Iran-Iraq war.
  • Historically, oil and “energy security” have been at the heart of American strategy in the Gulf.
  • A stable Persian Gulf benefits the United States indirectly, by safeguarding a global economic and security interest in the steady supply of Middle East energy.
  • If the United States withdraws from the region and hands the responsibility of those issues to another power (or set of powers), it will certainly give rise to another hegemonic power in the region that is hostile to U.S. interests.
  • Such a change would copper-fasten the United States’ loss of great-power status.

Strain on regional security structure:

  • The geopolitical factors and conflicts elsewhere in the West Asian region i.e. Yemen, Syria and Libya have aggravated global and regional relationships and hampered the U.S.-Iran relation that was to be established on the multilateral agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • Due to the changing priorities of the US, the perceptions of declining U.S. commitment to sub-regional security have been articulated in recent months.
  • Saudi Arabia is a fading power, UAE, Qatar and Iran are emerging as the new regional leaders and Oman and Iraq will have to struggle to retain their sovereign identities.
  • The GCC has effectively ended, and OPEC is becoming irrelevant as oil policy moves to a tripartite global condominium.

Importance for India:

  • The Gulf is an integral part of India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’, both by way of geographical proximity and as an area of expanded interests and growing Indian influence.
  • India is dependent on the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states for 42 per cent of its overall oil imports; three of the top five oil suppliers to India are Gulf states.
  • Indians make up the Gulf states’ largest expatriate community, with an estimated 7.6 million Indian nationals living and working in the region; especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • The GCC is India’s largest regional-bloc trading partner, which accounted for $104 billion of trade in 2017–18, nearly a 7 per cent increase from $97 billion the previous year. This is higher than both India–ASEAN trade ($81 billion) and India–EU trade ($102 billion) in 2017-18.

Framework for stability and security:

  • The framework for stability and security in the region should be able to answer various questions such security for whom, security by whom and security against whom and what should be the purpose of the security.
  • The framework should be able to address the security and stability issues at the local, national and the global level.
  • The important ingredients of such a framework would thus be to ensure:
    • Conditions of peace and stability in individual littoral states
    • Freedom to all states of the Gulf littoral to exploit their hydrocarbon and other natural resources and export them
    • Freedom of commercial shipping in international waters of the Persian Gulf
    • Freedom of access to and outlet from, Gulf waters through the Strait of Hormuz
    • Prevention of emergence of conditions that may impinge on any of these considerations
    • Prevention of conflict that may impinge on the freedom of trade and shipping

Way Forward:

  • With the Arab League entombed and the GCC on life-support system, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf region are left to individual devices to explore working arrangements with Iraq and Iran.
  • The previous experience has shown that the alternative of exclusive security arrangements promotes armament drives, enhances insecurity and aggravates regional tensions and it unavoidably opens the door for Great Power interference.
  • Indian interests would be best served if the stability in the Persian Gulf littoral is ensured through cooperative security since the alternative of competitive security options cannot ensure durable peace

 

Topic : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. Can the China’s growing economic and diplomatic clout be curbed by the newly formed Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

A group of senior lawmakers from eight democracies including the US have launched the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China to counter China. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the relevance of such an alliance in curbing or controlling the growing economic and diplomatic clout of China.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss the ongoing equation between China and rest of the world.

Body:

  Start by explaining the key features of the alliance; it is a new cross-parliamentary alliance to help counter what the threat posed by China’s growing influence to global trade, security and human rights. The group aims to “construct appropriate and coordinated responses, and to help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to China.”  The list of participating nations includes the US, Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, as well as members of the European parliament.

Conclusion:

Discuss the impact of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

Introduction:

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) is a group of senior lawmakers from eight democracies including the U.S. launched to help counter the threat China’s growing influence poses to global trade, security and human rights. It was launched recently, comes as the US struggles to muster a cohesive alliance to take on China’s growing economic and diplomatic clout and as it leads foreign governments in condemning Beijing’s move to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong that threatens the city’s autonomy.

Body:

Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC):

  • IPAC is a new cross-parliamentary alliance to help counter what the threat posed by China’s growing influence on global trade, security and human rights.
  • The participating nations include the US, Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, as well as members of the European parliament.
  • It is an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China.
  • Comprised of legislators from eight democracies it will be led by a group of co-chairs who are senior politicians drawn from a representative cross-section of the world’s major political parties.
  • The group aims to “construct appropriate and coordinated responses, and to help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to China.”
  • IPAC will focus on five key areas of policy:
    • safeguarding international law and ensuring that China is held to the standards of the international legal order;
    • upholding human rights and ensuring that these concerns are given due prominence in all engagement with China;
    • promoting trade fairness;
    • strengthening security;
    • promoting responsible development by protecting emerging economies from investment or lending from China that compromises their national interests or institutions.

Reasons for launch of IPAC:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has forced policymakers to confront questions that have been the elephant in the room for years.
  • The undeniable fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime repressed the truth about the coronavirus when it was first identified, silenced the brave whistleblowers who tried to alert the world, and failed to report in a timely manner to the World Health Organization has caused governments around the world to dramatically rethink their China policy.
  • The resentment against Communist China due to its handling of the coronavirus is growing and this development has rattled Beijing and Xi Jinping.
  • The alliance believes that China’s economic rise is systematically putting the global, rules-based order under severe pressure.
  • China is bullying countries – both politically and economically – which are not toeing its line on the coronavirus pandemic.
  • China has been asserting itself internationally. In May 2020, Chinese troops crossed the contested border with India. The Chinese navy has also stepped up patrols in the South China Sea.
  • At the end of May 2020, Beijing’s announced it would implement national security laws in Hong Kong, a move aimed at clamping down on anti-government unrest in the enclave.
  • Add to this the regime’s flagrant breaches of its international treaty obligations to Hong Kong, mass atrocities against the Uyghurs and others in Xinjiang, increasing repression throughout the rest of China and aggression abroad.
  • It is further combined with the very real need to engage China on climate change and to de-escalate tensions with Taiwan and in the South China Sea, while considering how to reduce dependency on China by diversifying supply chains.

Possible impacts of IPAC:

  • Unlike many other initiatives, IPAC is not intended to be a think-tank per se. It won’t publish reports or policy papers, or hold “campaigns.”
  • Instead it is a loose network aimed at generating ideas that individual legislators might take forward in their own respective contexts.
  • The approaches may vary, and not every member will necessarily be signed up to every aspect or issue.
  • Some may choose to focus on human rights or economic “decoupling”; others might pursue climate change or security. Some might call for targeted Magnitsky-style sanctions or a “life boat” rescue package to offer sanctuary for pro-democracy activists in grave danger in Hong Kong, while others may prefer to pursue constructive engagement with China on the issues where we have no choice but to try to work with the CCP, such as climate change.
  • The beauty of the alliance is that it is neither “hawkish” nor “dovish,” but rather brings “hawks” and “doves” and realists in between together in a common recognition that if the free world is to defend its values and interests, and protect the international rules-based order, we need a coordinated approach towards China.

Conclusion:

Gathering such a diverse group of senior politicians from across the globe is no easy feat, and IPAC’s success and value will be tested in the ability of people who may not agree on many things to identify common ground and common values, and the need for a coordinated approach. Time will tell what it impacts it has. But it says something of the importance of the challenge we face that this alliance has come together, and it sends Beijing a clear message: it is no longer business as usual.

 

Topic : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

4. With regard to both new and continuing traditional challenges to international peace and security, Discuss India’s latest approach towards UNSC. (250 words)

Reference: News on air 

Why the question:

External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar asserted that India’s overall objective during the fresh tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of “N.O.R.M.S., New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System”.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss India’s approach towards UNSC in detail.

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:

Highlight the changing dynamics of the world countries and at the UNSC.

Body:

Explain that India’s approach at the United Nations Security Council will be guided by the tenets of Samman, Samvad, Sahyog, Shanti and Samriddhi. New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System. New opportunities for progress, an effective response to international terrorism, reforming the multilateral system, comprehensive approach to international peace and security and promoting technology with a human touch as a driver of solutions have been underlined as the key priorities for the country in its stance at the UN Security Council.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The UNSC consists of 15 members: 10 non-permanent and five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and US. India is the single endorsed candidate for the Asia-Pacific seat in the non-permanent member category. The elections for five non-permanent members will be held by the UN General Assembly on 17 June, in which India is likely to be elected for the eighth time. External Affairs Minister released India’s priorities for the two-year UNSC term that begins from January 2021.

India, in July 2019, had won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group at the UN in support of its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC for a 2-year term in 2021-22. India must leverage this latest opportunity to project itself as a responsible nation.

Body:

India had last assumed the role of a non-permanent member at the UNSC in 2011-12. Prior to that, it was a non-permanent member for 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85 and 1991-92.

United_nation_security_council

Role and Significance of UNSC:

  • The Security Council is the United Nations’ most powerful body, with “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • Under the UN Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council s decisions.

Need for reforms in UNSC:

  • Regional representation
    • Supporters of UNSC reform claim that there is a huge European bias in P-5 due to the presence of the United Kingdom and France including Russia.
    • While regions like Latin America, Caribbean group, Arabs and Africa do not have a single permanent member. Similarly, there is a western bias in UNSC. As China is the only Asian country among the five permanent members of UNSC.
    • Thus a large chunk of the population and many different regions of the world remain unrepresented in the permanent membership of UNSC.
    • It seems highly unfair that the whole continent of Africa does not have a single member in P-5 despite the fact that most of the affairs of the body concern this part of the globe only.
    • So regions like Africa and Latin America and others will have to be accommodated in the reformed UNSC.
  • Changing geopolitics:
    • The victors of World War II shaped the United Nations Charter in their national interests, dividing the permanent seats, and associated veto power, among themselves.
    • It has been 72 years since the foundation of UNSC.
    • During this period, the geopolitical realities have changed drastically, but the Council has changed very little.
  • Question of Veto:
    • All five permanent members of UNSC enjoy a veto power.
    • Veto is a kind of negative vote by a permanent member that prevents the adoption of a proposal, even if it has received the required overall votes by the members.
    • Sadly, veto power is grossly misused by the permanent members in their own national interest.
    • g. out of 24 vetoes over the last 20 years, 15 have been used by the United States to protect Israel.
    • This also badly affects the conduct of the business of UNSC as many important proposals involving substantive issues get blocked due to use of veto by any of the five permanent members.
  • G-4 and India s quest for a permanent seat:
    • In recent decades, India has been very vocal in demanding for a permanent seat in UNSC. It is also part of G-4, a group of 4 nations (India, Brazil, Germany and Japan) to lobby for permanent positions on the UNSC or at least to make the council more representative.
    • Many member-states have been pledging support for our aspiration for permanent membership. Several P-5 countries have also announced their support. At present, China is the only P-5 member opposing India s bid.
    • G-4 wants to expand the permanent seats in the UNSC to 10 to include 6 new members G-4 nations apart from one seat to Africa and one seat to Arabs
  • Transparency and Working Methods:
    • While the expansion of the Security Council has been hotly debated across the world, debate on the working methods of the Council, an equally important aspect of reform to many member states, has attracted less attention.
    • It is true that UNSC has been functioning in the most non-transparent and non-consultative way.
    • The undemocratic nature of UNSC within the supposedly democratic UN has compromised the overall credibility of the United Nations.

India’s new approach towards UNSC as non-permanent member:

  • Keeping in the mind the massive changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic both geopolitically as well as economically, External Affairs Minister said India has plans for a ‘Five S’ approach to the world from the UNSC seat — Samman (respect), samvad (dialogue), sahayog (cooperation), shanti (peace) and Samriddhi (prosperity).
  • External Affairs Minister asserted that India’s overall objective during the fresh tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of O.R.M.S. – New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.
  • India will strive to achieve a “concrete and result-oriented action at the security council for an effective response to international terrorism”.
  • There is a need to reform multilateralism to reflect contemporary realities and make a comprehensive approach to peace and security guided by dialogue, mutual respect and commitment to international law.
  • As a rule-abiding democracy and as a positive contributor to the security of the global commons, India will work constructively with partners to overcome old and new fault-lines.
  • New opportunities for progress, an effective response to international terrorism, reforming the multilateral system, comprehensive approach to international peace and security and promoting technology with a human touch as a driver of solutions have been underlined as the key priorities for the country in its stance at the UN Security Council.

Way forward:

  • India should once again become a consensus-builder, instead of being detached as it has become to be.
  • India’s singular objective as a non-permanent member should be to help build a stable and secure external environment.
  • In doing so, India will promote its own people’s prosperity, regional and global security and growth, and a rule-based world order.
  • It could emerge a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.
  • There is a deficit of international leadership on global issues, especially on security, migrant movement, poverty, and climate change.
  • Given this, India has an opportunity to promote well-balanced, common solutions.

Conclusion:

In recent times the credibility of UNSC has suffered a severe blow as it has been ineffective and inefficient in tackling the conflicts in different parts of the world such as Syria, Ukraine etc. in most of these situations UNSC has remained mere a mute spectator. Therefore, the demand for reforms in the council has become a necessity to restore its credibility and effectiveness in maintaining international peace and security.

 

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

6. Discuss the aspects of moving away from a price-based support structure for the farm sector to direct income support for farm households. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The article talks about the recent reforms that were brought out in the farm sector and the new changes that need to be made.

Key Demand of the question:

One must explain in detail the idea of the aspects of moving away from a price-based support structure for the farm sector to direct income support for farm households.

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:

First explain the recent actions in terms of policies taken by the govt. to address the farm distress in the country.

Body:

Discuss the removal of restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) and how it has helped the sector.  This initiative should help attract private investment into agriculture, and help farmers of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion and potato, who were severely hampered so far.  Explain first the need to address the severe hit to incomes of farmers and rural laborers and then explain that in addition to the package, we need certain reforms. It is perhaps time to consider moving away from a price-based support structure for the farm sector and towards direct income support for farm households.

Take hints from the article and suggest measures.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such changes approach in the agrarian sector.

Introduction:

The impact of the COVID pandemic has hit almost all the countries. India, being an agrarian economy has been impacted to a great extent. The package of measures for agriculture announced by the finance minister, as part of the third tranche of the stimulus package on May 15 2020, is very encouraging. Many policy decisions that are long overdue have been taken. These would be positive steps for long-term growth of agriculture, if implemented well.

Body:

Some of the recent policy decisions undertaken:

  • The removal of restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) is, by far, the most important measure.
  • This initiative should help attract private investment into agriculture, and help farmers of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion and potato, who were severely hampered so far.
  • The enactment of a central law to allow interstate trade is also positive, but states’ concerns need to be addressed for it to succeed.
  • The third-most important measure is the setting up of a Rs 1 lakh crore fund for improvement of farm-gate infrastructure for post-harvest operations.
  • Farmers of perishable crops should benefit immensely from this. Inclusion of all fruits and vegetables in the Operation Greens scheme should also help this segment.
  • Extension of Rs 2 lakh crore credit to farmers of PM-KISAN, fishermen and animal husbandry.
  • Provision of Rs 30,000 crore of additional refinancing facility by NABARD.
  • several measures for animal husbandry, fisheries, etc.

Short-comings of the package:

  • However, despite these long-term measures, some of the more immediate concerns have been overlooked in the package.
  • The most serious problem, at present, is the severe hit to incomes of farmers and rural labourers.
  • Although farmers are provided such payments under PM-KISAN, the quantum of assistance is inadequate to cover the loss of income in the current rabi season and for meeting the expenses for the upcoming kharif season.
  • This is particularly true for farmers of perishable crops such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Although the credit facility to PM-KISAN farmers may provide some relief, it will only cover the expenses for the next season and there will be some time lag before the guidelines are evolved.
  • The other important issue is of providing employment to the migrants returning to rural areas.
  • With the upcoming kharif season, this labour force could be gainfully employed in agricultural operations.
  • However, MGNREGA guidelines do not permit the labour to be employed on private lands.
  • Although the allocation for the MGNREGA has been increased by Rs 40,000 crore in the sixth tranche (on May 17) of the stimulus package, the guidelines have not been revised.
  • Most of the long-term measures announced in the stimulus package relate to the product and credit markets.
  • Sugar, pulses and cotton have some mechanisms in place, but have proven largely inadequate.
  • The deficiency payments system devised for oilseeds and pulses under PM-AASHA in 2018 has also not yielded the desired results.
  • Importance of Direct Transfers:
  • Technological innovations, along with price support measures and the supply of subsidized key inputs like irrigation, fertilizer, and electricity, have played an important role in the growth of Indian agriculture.
  • A policy shift from price to income support under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) program is deemed better as it would incentivize farmers as money is transferred to their bank accounts and bring in much needed efficiency in input use.
  • Farmers, without undergoing the hassles of authentication, would be able to make independent decisions on the application of fertilizers.
  • Besides, DBT will help in reducing the transaction cost in the creation of digital infrastructure, the burden of retailers to maintain records, and errors that often appear in use of the Aadhaar card.
  • Such an income support measure would be financially sustainable in the long run, and also fully compatible with the WTO provision on domestic support
  • To this end, direct payments to farmers and MGNREGA active job-card holders would be useful.
  • Direct income transfer is a better policy instrument to ensure a minimum income to farmers, compared to indirect instruments such as output price, which are mainly useful in resource allocation.
  • In case of fiscal constraints, covering even half or two-thirds of the cost could be considered.
  • Direct transfers also have the additional advantage of kick-starting the demand in rural areas immediately.

Way forward:

  • Land lease market reforms:
    • Tenancy reforms need to be implemented immediately to enable easier land leasing.
    • States must be actively encouraged to adopt the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act 2016.
    • This will allow small and marginal farmers to augment their landholdings through leasing, thereby reaping the advantages of scale.
  • Public support to agriculture:
    • For a long time, MSP cum procurement has been the main plank of our public support programmes.
    • In the current as well as earlier food crises in 1975 and 2008, India’s buffer stock system served the country exceedingly well.
    • Considering the usefulness of this system and the volatility of international grain markets (rice), the MSP-procurement system may need to be continued for staple foodgrains and extended to pulses.
    • A different approach is needed for non-staple commodities, for which MSPs are announced with little or no procurement.
  • Payment Assistance to farmers:
    • Currently, a uniform assistance of Rs 6,000 per annum is made to a farm family, which is not adequate.
    • The quantum of assistance should be linked to the cost of cultivation in the region.
    • the payment should be delinked from marginal production (production in the current year), and only be based on average production of last three years.
    • This will ensure a basic income to the farmer that is commensurate with costs but does not distort the market price.
  • Convergence of programmes for better outcomes:
    • There should be functional and financial convergence across the ministries of agriculture and rural development.
    • The wage employment programmes (MGNREGA) and livelihoods programmes (NRLM) of the rural development ministry should be dovetailed with agriculture and related activities of the region, like irrigation, food processing, transportation, storage, etc.
  • Infrastructure Development:
    • Rural infrastructure such as rural roads, market yards, procurement centres, milk collection centres and dal mills can also be built by synergising the functions and resources of these ministries under their various flagship programmes.

Conclusion:

Complementary reforms in the factor markets are also needed to realise the full potential of the steps taken. These complementary reforms are not confined to agriculture alone, but cover the overall rural development strategy. A holistic approach integrating agricultural growth, farm and non-farm employment is urgently needed to stem the large-scale migration. The measures announced are in the right direction for the long-term growth of the agricultural sector, but can be more effective if supplemented with direct transfers in the short-term and with a few structural reforms in the long-term.

 

Topic : Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. What is bureaucratic apathy? How does it pose challenge on the bureaucracy in general? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the Story of Ghanaian footballer, stranded outside Mumbai airport, and in what way it is parable of individual decency, bureaucratic apathy.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the concept of bureaucratic apathy and in what way it poses challenge on the bureaucracy in general.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Firstly define what you understand by bureaucratic apathy.

Body:

One has to explain such answers with illustrations that justify the fact of bureaucratic apathy, explain parellely the importance of empathy and compassion against the use of apathy in the system. Discuss the challenges posed by the bureaucratic apathy in general to civil services, suggest measures to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Bureaucracy plays a central role in socio-economic development and nation building. Millions of people rely on public assistance and bureaucracy to make ends meet.  Bureaucratic apathy refers to the negative attitude or the indifference shown by the bureaucrats (permanent executive) towards their work or duties assigned to them leading to common man’s grievances. It is basically a loss or suppression of emotional affect with regard to, a listlessness, a loss of interest in, some issue, set of issues, or perhaps good governance itself.

Body:

Some of the instances of bureaucratic apathy:

  • Muller, a young footballer from Ghana who plays for a seven-a-side football team in Kerala, spent 73 days stranded outside Mumbai airport with less than Rs 1,000 in his pocket. The bureaucratic apathy of the Ghana embassy, Maharashtra government and the government of India made him to be stranded on his way home because of the lockdown.
  • Pourakarmikas and other waste management-related workers are of utmost importance in keeping the city clean. But it is often in Bengaluru that these workers are forced to work without pay for months due to the Bureaucratic apathy.
  • There are also many instances in the past where the widows of a soldiers who died fighting terrorists have faced bureaucratic apathy and running from pillar to post to get a government job and farm land to sustain their families.
  • The current state of labor exploitation and deprivation of labor rights especially seen during the migrants’ crisis after covid lockdown ended is a terrible shift in government policy from inclusive governance to bureaucratic apathy that prefers to protect the privileged.

Some important tasks of bureaucracy:

  • Public-service agencies combine three core functions: processing clients, providing services, and applying the rules evenly.
  • Bureaucrats must process incoming cases by sorting people as efficiently as possible into pre-defined administrative categories.
  • They must provide clients with services that are tailored to their needs, taking into account their particular life circumstances.
  • They must, finally, enforce program requirements and eligibility criteria meticulously, treating everyone impartially.

Bureaucratic apathy poses a challenge to the bureaucracy in general:

  • It leads to unresponsiveness to popular demands and desires of the citizens.
  • Thus, it causes to ignore the human element in the administrative behaviour.
  • It increases undue formalism leading to increased redtapism and regulatory cholesterol.
  • It can lead to self-aggrandizement, empire building and conservatism nature leading to ivory towers of bureaucracy.
  • It can also lead to other maladies like arrogance, self-satisfaction, rigidity, indifference to democratic processes.

Bureaucratic Apathy in Indian Context:

  • The bureaucracy in India suffers from certain strange paradoxes.
  • It is a combination of rigid adherence to procedure and a low resistance to varied pressures, pulls and intervention.
  • The Indian bureaucracy is characterized by increased self-importance, indifference and   an   obsession   with   the   binding   and   inflexible   authority   of   departmental   decisions, precedents, or
  • The bureaucracy   is   often   described to be ‘bloated’ and their size is believed to be disproportional to their contribution.
  • It is felt that bureaucrats are a law unto themselves.
  • They hide behind their papers and maintain secrecy on various public dealings.
  • Due to which their misdeeds are never found and if exposed they take shelter behind the committees and commissions.

Conclusion:

To make the bureaucracy adapt well to the development tasks, changes are needed both on structural and behavioural fronts.  Structurally, de-emphasis of hierarchy has been suggested to get rid of the conventional organisational pyramid, the centralized set up and interpersonal conflicts.    Behaviorally, as has been pointed out, the bureaucratic personnel need to be sensitized to the needs of the disadvantaged and weaker   sections, motivated   to   take   up   new   and   innovative   steps   towards   administrative reforms, and appreciated for their initiative and zeal.   There is a need for development bureaucracy, which is not insular and inward looking in approach.  Administrative changes are required to make the bureaucracy      goal-centric, results-specific and people-oriented.