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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 July 2020


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


 

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

1. To what extend does the evolution of pottery traditions reflect the socio-economic conditions in ancient India? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Ancient Indian history class XI NCERT

Why the question:

The question is from the static areas of GS paper I, topic of art and culture and the ancient India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail in what way the evolution of pottery traditions reflect the socio-economic conditions in ancient India.

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 pottery traditions in ancient India. Pottery craft is believed to be one of the oldest and most important traditional crafts of India.

Body:

The answer must establish the connections between the craft of pottery and the socio-economic conditions of the ancient India.

Talk about the Harappan pottery which was Black on Redware, or the Ochre Coloured pottery of Neolithic or chalcolithic cultures, Painted Grey Ware tradition of Vedic culture etc.  

Illustrate the link between the above cultures of pottery and the socio-economic conditions of the time in detail with relevant examples.

Conclusion:

Evolution of pottery style as illustrated is linked to the socio-economic conditions of the time. The luxurious ones is mostly unearthed urban areas signifying urbanization and prosperity.

Introduction:

Pottery or ceramics or ceramic art refers to the creation of objects that are made up of hard brittle material produced from non-metallic minerals by moulding them while the material is wet and then firing them at high temperatures. They are often made up of clay, porcelain, steatite, etc.

Pottery plays an important role in studying culture and reconstructing the past. Historically with distinct culture, the style of pottery changed. It reflects the social, economic and environmental conditions a culture thrived in, which helps the archaeologists and historians in understanding our past. It holds significant value in understanding cultures where script was either absent or remains undeciphered. Understanding of presence of fire, cooking, storage, sedentary or migratory populace, social stratification can all be developed via studying pottery.

Body:

Evolution of pottery making in India:

  • Neolithic Age:
    • First reference of pottery in this age.
    • Naturally it is hand-made pottery but during the later period foot wheel is also used.
  • Chalcolithic Age:
    • Chalcolithic Era, the first metal age, is marked by the occurrence of distinct cultures in various parts of our country namely – Ahar culture in South Eastern Rajasthan, Malwa culture in Western MP, Jorwe culture in Western Maharashtra, etc.
    • People of this age used different kinds of pottery.
    • Black-and-red-ware Pottery:
      • Black and red ware seems to have been widely used. Cultures like Ahar-Banas showed the presence of Black and Red ware pottery with white linear designs.
    • Black-on-red ware:
      • Jorwe ware is painted black-on-red and has a matt surface treated with a wash.
    • Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP):
      • OCP people are regarded as the junior contemporaries of Harappa.
      • This pottery is identified with the Copper Hoard Culture that was found in upper Ganga Valley and Ganga Yamuna doab area.
    • Harappan civilization:
      • Polished Ware Pottery with rough surface
      • Both polished and unpolished type of pottery existed.
      • Pottery generally has a red surface and is wheel thrown although handmade ones too exist
      • Polished wares were well fired.
      • Most of the pottery is polychrome meaning more than two colours are used to colour the pottery.
      • Most of the pottery is Such potteries usually have flat bases
      • Geometrical design along with paintings depicting flora and fauna are observed.
      • Perforated pottery was also found may be used for straining liquor.
      • Pottery throughout the civilization was uniform (mass thrown) revealing some form of control and leaving less space of individual creativity.
      • Presence of luxurious pottery obtained from certain sites reveals economic stratification in the society.
    • Burial Pottery of Harappa:
      • Burial pottery was specially and distinctly made.
      • Reveals the Harappan belief in life after death.
      • Presence or absence of this pottery in the grave goods reflected social stratification.
    • Late Harappan period:
      • Ochre Colored Pottery (OCP):
        • The late Harappan cultures (1900BC – 1200BC) were primarily chalcolithic. Some specific chalcolithic sites show the elements of late Harappan (like use of burnt bricks, etc). These sites have OCP.
      • Black-grey burnished ware:
        • It was produced on slow wheel – Found in Swat Valley. This resembles the pottery from north Iranian plateau.
      • Black-on-red painted and wheel turned pottery:
        • Also found in Swat Valley. This shows a connection that Swat Valley was associated with Harappa.
      • Grey-ware and Painted Grey Ware:
        • generally associated with Vedic people have been found in conjunction with some late Harappan pottery.
        • It has less intricate designs as compared to the early and mature periods suggesting a dilution of the rich culture.
      • Vedic Era:
        • Painted Grey Ware (PGW):
          • The Vedic Era saw the emergence of Painted Grey Ware(PGW) Culture.
          • The Rig Vedic sites have PGW but iron objects and cereals are absent. Hence it is considered a pre-iron phase of PGW.
          • On the other hand, the Later Vedic sites are considered iron-phase of PGW.
        • Later Vedic Era:
          • Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW):
            • The later Vedic people were acquainted with 4 types of pottery – Black-and-red ware, blackslipped ware, painted grey ware and red ware.
          • End of Later Vedic Era:
            • Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW):
              • Towards the very end of Later Vedic Age around 6th century BC, we see the emergence of 2nd phase of urbanization (1st being Indus Valley Civilization). This era marked the beginning of the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW).
              • Glossy, shining type pottery.
              • Made of fine fabric and served as tableware for richer class. Considered deluxe pottery only found with the elites revealing societal stratification which was a result of Brahmanical hegemony.
              • This pottery continued to exist during the Mahajanapada era.
              • Found in Ahichatra, Hastinapur (both in UP), Navdatoli (Madhya Pradesh).
              • Classified into two groups – bichrome and monochrome.
              • Monochrome pottery has a fine and thin fabric. Potted on fast wheel and have astrikingly lustrous surface. 90% of this type is jet black, brownish black and bluish black and 10% have colours like pink, golden, brown among others.
              • Bichrome pottery is found less. It shows all the features of monochrome except that it shows combination of two colours.
            • Megalithic Pottery found in Kerala:
              • Well baked and durable.
              • Bulk of these are plain.
              • It has been excavated throughout India but majorly from the South.
              • They were used as grave goods revealing belief in life after death.
            • Mauryan period:
              • Use of the potter’s wheel became universal. The pottery associated with the Mauryan period consists of many types of ware. But the most highly developed technique is seen in a special type of pottery known as the Northern Black Polished Ware (NBP), which was the hallmark of the preceding and early Mauryan periods.
              • The NBP ware is made of finely levigated alluvial clay, which when seen in section is usually of a grey and sometimes of a red hue.
            • Sunga period:
              • Pottery flourished as the Sunga rulers like the Mauryans were royal patrons of varied forms of art.
            • Gupta period:
              • Clay figurines were used both for religious and secular purposes. There are figurines of Vishnu, Kartikeya, Surya, Durga, Kubera, Nagas and other gods and goddesses.
              • Gupta pottery remains found at Ahichchhatra, Rajgarh, Hastinapur and Bashar afford an outstanding proof of the excellence of pottery. The most distinctive class of pottery of this period is the red ware.
              • Terracottas form another important branch of the Gupta art. In this modest medium, gifted clay modellers created things of real beauty and achieved a wide popular basis for their art.
              • Clay figurines served as poor man’s sculpture and contributed largely to popularise art and culture.
              • The terracotta figures may be classified under two heads, (a) gods and goddesses, (b) male and female figures.
            • Kushan period:
              • The Kushan cultural phase in Bengal and North Indian sites brought a new horizon in ceramic craft.
              • The characteristic pottery of this phase is marked by a unique red polished ware with stamped design along with a large number of dull or sturdy red ware.
              • The diagnostic red ware is treated with a bright red slip.
            • Mughals:
              • The art of glassware got great impetus during the medieval period.
              • Mughal rulers provided patronage to the craft of glass making.
              • The credit of introducing the art of glass engraving in India goes to the Mughals.

Conclusion:

Pottery is an essential element of the form of a civilization. It not only throws light on the food habits of the people, their religious and social customs, the technological advancement attained by them and even their economic condition, but also provide us with a more satisfactory basis than a mere event for reviewing the historic archaeology or history as such. So the study of pottery without any reference to its sociological context remains unrealistic or sterile.

 

Topic : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

2. “Tropical regions are rich in flora and fauna biodiversity as compared to temperate regions” Discuss (250 words)

 Reference: panda.org

Why the question:

The question aims to differentiate the biodiversity of tropical regions and the temperate regions.

Key Demand of the question:

One must appreciate and analyse the reasons for difference in diversity between tropical and temperate regions.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One can start by enlisting tropical forest biodiversity facts.

Body:

In the answer body analyse the reasons for difference in diversity between tropical and temperate regions.

The reasons for the difference are – location aspects, climate aspects, history of evolution of the two regions, Niche specialization etc. Elaborate on each of these and earmark the differences, if possible tabulate them with suitable examples.

Explain significance of the two regions.

Conclusion:

Thus, biodiversity richness is dependent on many geographical and biological factors of the region. There is an urgent requirement to study and regulate the factors which have been reducing the species diversity of the earth.

Introduction:

Tropical forests are some of the richest, most exciting areas on earth. They are home to gigantic trees, colourful birds and a huge variety of fascinating mammals. About 80% of the world’s documented species can be found in tropical rainforests, even though they cover only about 6% of the Earth’s land surface – less than half the area they covered not so very long ago. The tropical rainforest biome has four main characteristics: very high annual rainfall, high average temperatures, nutrient-poor soil, and high levels of biodiversity (species richness).

Body:

Features of Tropical rainforests:

  • Tropical rainforests are closed canopy forests growing found near the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer (23°27’N) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23°27’S).
  • They are very wet places, receiving more than 200 cm rainfall per year, either seasonally or throughout the year.
  • Temperatures are uniformly high – between 20°C and 35°C. Such forests are found in Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and on many of the Pacific Islands.
  • Rainforest trees are quite different from trees of temperate forests.
  • In the rainforest, trees grow to gigantic size, supported by strong, strut-like buttresses at the base of the trunk that help to stabilize them in shallow forest soils.
  • Huge creepers twine themselves around the trunks of trees.

Features of temperate forest:

  • A temperate forest is a forest found between the tropical and boreal regions, located in the temperate zone.
  • It is the second largest biome on the planet, covering 25% of the world’s forest area, only behind the boreal forest, which covers about 33%.
  • These forests cover both hemispheres at latitudes ranging from 25 to 50 degrees, wrapping the planet in a belt similar to that of the boreal forest.
  • Due to its large size spanning several continents, there are several main types: deciduous, coniferous, broadleaf and mixed forest and rainforest.

world_map

Reasons for higher biodiversity in Tropical areas over temperate areas:

  • Rainfall:
    • The word “rainforest” implies that these are the some of the world’s wettest ecosystems. Rainforests generally receive very high rainfall each year, although the exact amount varies among different years and different rainforests.
    • For example, South America’s tropical rainforests receive between 200 and 300 centimeters of rain in a typical year.
    • Tropical rainforests also have high humidity; about 88% during the wet season and approximately 77% in the dry season.
  • Temperature:
    • Tropical latitudes receive more solar energy than temperate regions, which leads to high productivity and high species diversity.
    • Tropical areas have more stable climate than temperate regions
  • Soil Composition:
    • Since there is a tremendous amount and diversity of foliage in tropical rainforests, you might assume that rainforest soils are rich in nutrients.
    • In fact, rainforest soils are nutrient-poor because nutrients are not stored in them for very long.
    • The heavy rains that occur in rainforests wash organic material from the soil.
    • Although decomposition occurs rapidly in the hot, moist conditions, many of the dead, fallen leaves and other organic detritus are swept away before releasing all of their nutrients.
    • In addition, rainwater seeps into the ground and leaches away nutrients.
    • Nevertheless, the high diversity of decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi accelerates the decomposition process enough that the nutrients released by decomposition are taken up quickly by the plants, instead of being stored in the soil.
  • Biodiversity:
    • Tropical rainforests are areas of extremely high biodiversity compared to other ecosystems.
    • Though the tropical rainforests cover only 7 per cent of the earth’s surface, they are home to nearly half of all the species and about 70-80 per cent of tree species that occur on this planet.
    • Biologists estimate that tropical rainforests contain about 50% of the world’s terrestrial plant and animal species, yet they encompass only about 6% of the world’s land area.
    • Tropical regions have less seasonal variations and have a more or less constant environment. This promotes the niche specialization and thus, high species richness.
  • Time for evolution:
    • Tropical communities of plants and animals are older than temperate communities
    • Thus tropical communities got more time to evolve
    • Temperate regions were subjected to glaciations during the ice age, while tropical regions remained undisturbed which led to an increase in the species diversity in this region.

Conclusion:

These   forests   have   enormous conservation significance as at least 80% of the human diet in developed world originated in the tropical forests.  At least 3000 fruit species are found in the rainforests, of which only 200 are now in use in the western world. They play a key role in the protection of the global environment against global   warming, as   potential   carbon   sinks, regulated and managed through global economic and financial instruments

 

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

3. Why commencement of auction process for ‘commercial mining’ is welcome news to the Indian economy? explain.  (250 words)

Reference: financial express 

Why the question:

The article brings to us the decision of the government to open up the coal sector and its effects on the Indian economy.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way commencement of auction process for ‘commercial mining’ is welcome news to the Indian economy.

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:

Start by explaining the fact that Indian has come a long way as far as the policy framework concerning coal mining is concerned.

Body:

Bring out the key dimensions with respect to commercial mining of coal in India.

Explain how the process has transformed over years; With India having one of the largest coal reserves in the world, it is concerning that coal supply in the country is inadequate, and the country has to rely extensively on coal imports. 

 The government’s decision to open the coal sector to permit companies, domestic and foreign, to mine coal in India without any end-use restrictions is a welcome move, and this will help meet demand and reduce the country’s foreign exchange expenditure on a natural resource abundant in India.

List down the positives of such a decision and highlight challenges if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with impact and importance of such decisions to Indian economy .

Introduction:

Commercial mining policy framework concerning coal mining has come a long way in India. From a concession model, we have moved on to granting coal mining blocks pursuant to a competitive bidding process, and from prescribing specific end-use to permitting commercial sale of coal. This evolution is with a view to: ensure transparency in allocation of natural resources; cater to the country’s ever-increasing coal demand; utilise natural resources at an optimal level; and generate revenues for the government so that the same can be used for infrastructure and overall development.

Body:

Coal sector in India:

  • Coal is the base of 70% power generation in the country.
  • Indian coal has high Ash content and low Sulphur content
  • Till now, the Public Sector Undertaking, Coal India was the only commercial miner in the country for more than four decades. The Maharatna company accounts for around 82% of the coal production in India. It produced 554.14 million tonnes of raw coal in 2016-17
  • Despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal in 2017, of which 135mt valued at Rs.171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves in 2018.
  • India’s state-run coal giant has been unable to meet growing demand despite abundant resources.
  • The South Asian nation depends on Coal India for more than 80 per cent of its domestic production and the miner has consistently fallen short of production targets in the last few years.
  • The government has been progressively liberalizing the coal sector over the last several months to attract new investments, and getting rid of this archaic end-use restriction was a key step.

Importance of commencement of auction process for ‘commercial mining’ to Indian Economy:

  • The government’s decision to open the coal sector to permit companies, domestic and foreign, to mine coal in India without any end-use restrictions is a welcome move.
  • This will help meet demand and reduce the country’s foreign exchange expenditure on a natural resource abundant in India.
  • with the removal of end-use restrictions, the coal mined can be used for various purposes including coal gasification and liquefaction.
  • The government has highlighted that as coal in India has low sulphur content, it is cleaner than other types of coal.
  • The government has indicated that it will provide lucrative rebates to successful bidders, and the same will assist in reducing their overall production costs and help maintain competitive pricing. This, in addition to the opportunity to harness coal bed methane, will increase value of the coal blocks.
  • The government has unleashed reforms that promise tremendous growth for the economy and all efforts should be taken to ensure that this initiative is not compromised because of regulatory and licensing hurdles.

Way forward:

  • Productivity of Coal India is still a concern. Coal is a very crucial raw material which is used in power sector and also in cement and metal sectors. So, there needs to be some benchmarking against the competitive players in the market.
  • Core sector should have some benchmark for the players and there should be a proper Regulation and allocation for the players
  • In long term, India needs to look at coal to gas, coal to liquid and ultimately coal to fertilizers & chemicals. Coal gasification is the process of producing syngas (CO, H2, CO2, CH4 and H2O) from coal and water, air and/or oxygen. This can be used for electricity generation, converting syngas to gasoline and diesel, converting methane to LNG, etc.
  • Mining in India has been very inefficient as mainly open cast mining is done. Deep underground mining is not always done. But once competition comes into picture, underground mining will be done. This requires a lot of safety precautions and their enforcements.
  • Indian coal is high in ash content, but it is very low in Sulphur. So, coal beneficiation should be done to reduce the ash content and improve its grade. This will reduce the transportation cost of the coal which is done mainly by railways.

Conclusion:

The arrival of private players in the coal mining practices can bring a lot of better things in picture. More efficient mining, better efficient of the given mine, going deep underground and better quality of coal can be produced. This shall be helpful for the Indian economy and power sector in particular. The opening up of the coal sector will also help in fulfilling the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, and will help several economic sectors, especially power, steel, aluminium and unregulated sectors.

 

Topic : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4. Differentiating between good and bad ozone, write a brief note on ozone pollution. (250 words)

Reference: epa.gov 

Why the question:

The question is direct and straightforward and aims to differentiate between good and bad ozone.

Key Demand of the question:

Differentiating between good and bad ozone, One must write a brief note on ozone pollution.

Directive:

Differentiate – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce by mentioning in brief about ozone; Ozone is a pale blue gas that is explosive and toxic even at low concentrations and is formed by combination of three oxygen atoms (O3).

Body:

Differentiate between good and bad ozone in terms of location, conditions required for their formation, impact or their role, their respective concerned regions etc.

Explain Ozone pollution and its effects.

Enumerate the initiatives taken to mitigate the ozone pollution briefly.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of protecting it for a healthy and sustainable earth.

Introduction:

Ozone (O3) is a colourless, reactive oxidant gas that is a major constituent of atmospheric smog. It is a gas composed of three atoms of oxygen (O3). Ozone occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone can be “good” or “bad” for your health and the environment, depending on its location in the atmosphere.

According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), while particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown, ozone — also a harmful pollutant — increased in several cities.

Body:

Good ozone:

  • Ozone occurs naturally at low concentrations throughout the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • The stratosphere or “good” ozone layer extends upward from about 6 to 30 miles and protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Due to various manmade chemicals it is partially destroyed and causes hole in the ozone.

Bad ozone:

  • Ground-level or “bad” ozone is an air pollutant that is harmful to breathe and it damages crops, trees and other vegetation.
  • In the troposphere, near the Earth’s surface, human activities lead to ozone concentrations several times higher than the natural background level.
  • It is a main ingredient of urban smog.
  • Too much of this ground-level ozone is ‘bad’ as it is harmful to breathe and also damages vegetation.

ozone

ozone_2

Ozone Pollution:

  • Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant, because of its effects on people and the environment, and it is the main ingredient in “smog.”
  • Ozone pollution is a concern during the summer months because strong sunlight and hot weather result in harmful ozone concentrations in the air we breathe.
  • Ground-level or “bad” ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight.
  • Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC.
  • Many urban and suburban areas throughout the World have high levels of “bad” ozone.
  • But many rural areas of the country are also subject to high ozone levels as winds carry emissions hundreds of miles away from their original sources.
  • Elevated ground-level ozone exposures affect agricultural crops and trees, especially slow growing crops and long-lived trees.

ozone_3

Way forward:

  • Surface ozone level must also be regularly monitored throughout the   country   and   particularly   in   rural   neighborhoods   surrounding large cities as ozone levels are likely to be high in these neighborhoods, particularly because agriculture production is known to be adversely affected by high ozone concentrations.
  • Automobile manufacturing and auto fuel industry can introduce several measures to reduce emissions of precursor pollutants including Vapor Recovery Control, which are systems that control VOC vapor releases during the refueling of motor vehicles, timely engine turnover, and adoption of cleaner and lower emitting new engines.
  • Coal-burning power plants can adopt clean coal technology to reduce emissions.
  • Urban planners and policy makers can support the cause through improving public transport, reduce congestion on roads, reduce idling time and incentivize use of hybrid or electric vehicles.
  • The states must strictly implement Emission Norms and to switch over to clean fuels like Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
  • Monitoring to make sure that industries are using cleaner fuel, developing green belt and installing pollution control devices to control the emissions.
  • The public can also reduce ozone levels by conserving energy at home and at work; by reducing vehicle by walking, cycling or using public transportation whenever possible, following gasoline-refueling instructions, keeping motor vehicle engines properly tuned and making sure that tires are properly inflated.
  • Policy changes are required to reduce the generation of ground-level ozone and to monitor the ambient levels and health effects.
  • Further studies have to be conducted to measure the mortality and morbidity due to this pollutant in India and the cost of inaction.

 

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

5. Can the persistent scope of Reserve Bank of India’s oversight overhaul the effective functioning of cooperative banks? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: financial express 

Why the question:

The article explains in what way expanded RBI oversight can change cooperative banking sector.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the recent steps taken by the government with respect to cooperative banks.

Body:

The recent ordinance relating to cooperative banks, barring those which lend to farmers has brought in a certain amount of euphoria. The ordinance gives regulatory oversight of these banks, essentially urban cooperative banks and multi-state cooperative banks, a push by putting in place a stronger RBI supervisory structure for them.

Take hints from the article and explain how the new changes can benefit the cooperatives.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A Co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank. It is distinct from commercial banks. They are broadly classified into Urban and Rural co-operative banks based on their region of operation. They are registered under the Co-operative Societies Act of the State concerned or under the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002.

The Central Government recently passed the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. It gives the RBI more regulatory powers over urban co-operative banks (UCBs) and multi-State co-operative societies.

Body:

Rationale behind the ordinance:

  • The decision comes after several instances of fraud and serious financial irregularities, including the major scam at the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank in 2019.
  • Till now, all the co-operative banks came under dual regulation of the RBI and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, resulting in regulatory and supervisory lapses at many of these banks.
  • The RBI had no powers to draw up an enforceable scheme of reconstruction of a co-operative bank.
  • However, from now onwards the urban and multi-state co-operative will come under the direct supervision of RBI.
  • The objective, as stated by the government, was to provide protection to the deposit-holders.
  • The ordinance will help ensure that money of 8.6 crore depositors in about 1,540 urban and multi-state cooperative banks is safe

Highlights of the Ordinance:

  • The Ordinance amends the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 as applicable to cooperative banks.
  • With respect to UCBs and multi-State co-operative societies, the RBI will now have powers to supersede boards, restructure managements and formulate resolution plans
  • The change will subject 1,544 co-operative banks to greater RBI supervision.
  • It will also partly address the problem of dual regulation by registrars of co-operative societies.
  • Notably, the dual regulation is often cited as the reason for the string of co-operative bank failures.
  • The Centre has expressed hope that this decision would reassure the 8.6 crore depositors in these banks about the safety of their money.

Concerns:

  • The Registrar of Cooperatives and RBI were both the regulators of these cooperative banks, and hence, the former does not lose its power which remains unchanged. Therefore, the two regulator model still holds.
  • Even earlier, there was RBI oversight though not to the extent that is being spoken of today. Hence, it is not a case of saying that there was no oversight earlier that has been brought in today.
  • From the point of view of RBI, the challenge would be to regulate and supervise these 1,500-odd banks with the same rigour as is accorded to the commercial banks.
  • If the bank is registered with the Registrar of Cooperative Societies of a state, the regulator will have to consult the state government concerned before issuing an order to supersede the board.
  • It has often also been alleged that some of these cooperative banks have political clout, and it would be interesting to see how this new regulatory and supervisory structures change the way in which these banks conduct business.
  • The cooperatives in northeast states and in states like West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha are not as well developed as the ones in Maharashtra and Gujarat. There is a lot of friction due to competition between different states, this friction affects the working of cooperatives.
  • A serious problem of the cooperative credit is the overdue loans of the cooperative banks which have been continuously increasing over the years.
  • Large amounts of overdues restrict the recycling of the funds and adversely affect the lending and borrowing capacity of the cooperative.
  • The cooperatives have resource constraints as their owned funds hardly make a sizeable portfolio of the working capital.
  • Raising working capital has been a major hurdle in their effective functioning.
  • The rural co-operative banks will continue to remain under the dual regulation of RBI and Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
  • The rural co-operative banks face the same issue of misgovernance and fraud, like urban co-operatives banks.

Way forward:

  • The ordinance also gives RBI the power to allow for mergers or amalgamations, and hence, if it is observed that some of them are too weak to survive on their own, action can be taken.
  • RBI has tried to implement the recommendations that UCBs be actively encouraged to convert into small finance banks.
  • By doing so, the regulatory arbitrage can be bridged.
  • Multiple corruption cases, structural weaknesses and pervasive collapses of the cooperative banks had resulted in demands for greater control of these banks, who have now developed substantial deposit and credit base, by a competent authority on par with the nationalized banks.

 

Topic : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures. Basics of cyber security

6. “The Digital India Initiative has unlocked new roads for effective online Delivery of services complemented by the damaging cyber fraud”. Do you agree? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: newsonair.com 

Why the question:

The article explains in what way digital journey has focused on empowerment, inclusion and digital transformation and its positive impact is being felt in all aspects of the lives of Indian citizens.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain and highlight the advantages as well as the challenges and concerns associated with digital India Initiative of the government of India.

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:

Discuss briefly the coming of Digital India Initiative.

Body:

Explain how the Digital India Initiative helped? – In the current crisis situation, the JAM Trinity, has facilitated the Work from Home, Digital Payments, Online Study Courses,

Tele-medicine, PM-KISAN, etc.

Present some key statistics suggesting the advantages of it. Explain the lacunae in terms of cyber threats, frauds, give examples of how the loopholes can lead to damaging effect.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Indian government has embarked on a programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series of initiatives under Digital India programme ranging from introducing Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities to propel India towards technological competence and transformation. The move towards a digital economy is likely to help trigger a fresh wave of economic growth, attract more investment, and create new jobs, across multiple sectors. However, it also poses a big challenge, that of Cyber Security.

Body:

Digital India: 

  • The ‘Digital India’ initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 July 2015.
  • It has been launched with an aim of transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • It would ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically.
  • It would also bring in public accountability through mandated delivery of government’s services electronically
  • Five years on, there have been dramatic improvements in all of its three key facets: in the creation of pervasive national digital infrastructure, in the electronic delivery of public services and financial succour to citizens, and in enhancing digital awareness and literacy.
  • India’s digital consumer base is the world’s second-largest, as well as the second-fastest growing among 17 major economies, as per findings of the latest India Economic Survey. And this base is core to the creation of future economic value and societal empowerment as digital solutions backed by new-gen technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and automation become ubiquitous.

Steps taken by the Government of India in promotion of Digital India: 

  • Digilockers: it is a “digital locker” service operated by the Government of India that enables Indian citizens to store certain official documents on the cloud. The service is aimed towards reducing the need to carry physical documents.
  • BHIM app: It is an app to enable digital payments. BHIM app was used to facilitate 913 million transactions in 2017-18.
  • JAM Trinity, a union of Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile number will better contribute to nation-building and overall economic progress. Digitalization has already helped disburse over $86.4 billion directly to the bank accounts of beneficiaries spanning over 430 government schemes since 2015 while saving around $15.3 in the process by plugging channel inefficiencies.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharatha Abhiyan to make citizen digitally literate. The project is expected to be one of the largest initiatives of the country with an overall target of training 6 crore students until the financial year, 2019. The government has accepted 250,000 Gram Panchayats to register at least 200-300 candidates each.
  • India’s digital economy will touch $1 trillion by the year 2022. India would be $10 trillion economy by 2030 and half of it would be the digital economy.
  • More than 12,000 rural post office branches have been linked digitally and soon payment banking would also become a reality for them.
  • The government also plans to make ‘digital village’ across the country, by linking all schemes with technology. The ‘digital village’ would be powered by LED lighting, solar energy, skill development centres and e-services like e-education and e-health.
  • Electronic transactions related to e-governance projects in the country have almost doubled in 2015, owing to the Digital India Programme. According to government website electronic transaction aggregation and analysis layer (eTaal), 3.53 billion transactions took place in 2014, which almost doubled in 2015 to 6.95 billion.
  • The progressive policies and aggressive focus on ‘Make in India’ have played a significant role in the resurgence of the electronics manufacturing sector.
  • Implementation of Aadhaar – the biometric digital identity program spanning 1.2 billion citizens, and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – which brought more than 10 million businesses online – have been the hallmarks of large-scale digitalization in India.

Challenges involved in ensuring cyber security:

  • New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning also face new challenges for cyber security.
  • Internet of things are often not built with security
  • New technologies aid hackers too.
  • We don’t have a cyber-security mindset. People still don’t understand cyber risks to an organization
  • Most of the cyber-attacks are not reported
  • Scarcity of cyber security professionals, especially at the leadership level.
  • Cyber bullies, extremists and terrorists are creating havoc within the system.
  • India is not a signatory to the Budapest convention which is the only multilateral convention on cyber security
  • No full time cyber security experts.

Other challenges:

  • The BharatNet project has been delayed several times which proposes to give internet connection to 2.5 lakh villages.
  • Delayed roll-out of Wi-Fi hotspots and the slow speed, in comparison to other developed nation.
  • Most small and medium scale industry is struggling to adapt to modern technology.
  • Entry level smartphones have limited capabilities for smooth internet access, and the outreach of the ‘smartphones’ is limited.
  • There is an absence of enough skilled manpower in digital technology.
  • Lack of user education and there are limited facilities to train personnel. India needs over one million cybersecurity experts to check and monitor the growing menace of digital crime.

Measures needed:

  • Real-time intelligence is required for preventing and containing cyber-attacks.
  • Periodical ‘Backup of Data’ is a solution to ransomware.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predicting and accurately identifying attacks.
  • Using the knowledge gained from actual attacks that have already taken place in building effective and pragmatic defence.
  • Increased awareness about cyber threats for which digital literacy is required first.
  • India needs to secure its computing environment and IoT with current tools, patches, updates and best known methods in a timely manner.
  • The need of the hour for Indian government is to develop core skills in cyber security, data integrity and data security fields while also setting stringent cyber security standards to protect banks and financial institutions.

Conclusion: 

India in the 21st Century must strive to meet the aspirations of its citizens where government and its services reach the doorsteps of citizens and contribute towards a long-lasting positive impact.  The Digital India Programme aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy by leveraging IT as a growth engine of new India.

Thus, the government must understand that when it comes to security of cyber space and building an incident response mechanism, it is essential to establish a mode of securing information and data. It is not only the laws dealing with cybercrimes that must exist, but the collection of appropriate cyber forensics data in various jurisdictions and their presentation in courts of law. It is critical to build incident management and sharing of information with a view to building an international incident response system. What Digital India needs now is having an incident response and transnational co-operation, including establishment of appropriate mechanisms for co-operation.

 

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

7. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: hindustan times 

Why the question:

The article throws light upon words of Love and compassion from the Dalai Lama and presents to us in detail the importance of such virtues to humanity.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the virtues of love and compassion in detail and in what ways they are key to humanity.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define the virtues of love and compassion in brief.

Body:

Explain in what way Necessities, comforts, and luxuries, are concepts whose meanings are dependent on the manner that human beings define their needs.

Based on the definition of needs, necessities refer to the basic needs human beings require to survive. In this sense, necessities are non-negotiable, where its deprivation could lead to detrimental effects on human beings.

Luxuries, on the other hand, are neither absolute in that its satisfaction or dissatisfaction does not affect man’s immediate survival, nor construed in that it does not make the satisfaction of basic needs easier to attain.

Then move onto discuss in detail why the virtues of love and compassion are essential for the humanity to survive.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their importance.

Introduction:

The above quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains how these feelings are a quintessential part of humanity for its survival. This is a paramount topic because love and compassion are what is needed to get through daily life. These feelings can help get through life with a positive attitude that can lead to success. The Dalai Lama, himself, has devoted his life towards the pursuit of humanitarian and environmental causes, global peace, and a lot more.

Body:

Love and compassion are definitely the essences of human life. We cannot imagine humanity without them. Even animals, who have less thinking capability than us, exhibit their nature that has love and care for their race. The way a mother monkey carries her dead infant even after its death is nothing but a sign of love and attachment. Quite same is with humans.

The key difference between love and compassion is that the love is a deep feeling of affection and attachment towards someone whereas compassion is a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

Even before beginning our human life, love, and compassion came in. When a baby is in the womb of mother, he is completely at her love and care. From the air that he breathes to the nutrition that he receives is received from the mother. Then after he is born, a baby is completely dependent on his mother. An infant is not capable of doing anything on its own. Hence it is the love and care of his mother that makes him live. So being a mother itself is the greatest example of love and compassion. The amount of sacrifice a mother has to do to raise a child is enormous and cannot be compared to anything in the world.

Importance of Love and Compassion:

  • The world, if we look from a human life perspective, is full of tragedies, problems, pains and sufferings.
  • Most of the people are surrounded by problems that ail their happiness. So somewhere we all suffer. The reason and magnitude can differ.
  • But if we only care about our problems and sufferings then humanity itself will be questioned. Here comes the need for compassion.
  • Love and Compassion relates fundamentally to how we as human beings relate to one another when it comes to questions of happiness and suffering. Example: Helping the lesser fortunate people who are deprived of basic necessities of life.
  • When we try to understand the pain of others and how they are feeling in the painful situation, then we try to help them. If not more, we at least don’t try to increase their problems.
  • People confuse these states of mind with sympathy.
  • People in pain do not need sympathy but they want to be empathized with. For instance, the people who are persecuted in their motherland and seek refuge in other place.
  • Trying to feel what others are going through and then helping them in any manner possible is what is required. It helps us to avoid hasty decisions and it nudges tolerance for the situation. Example: With love and compassion honour killing can be avoided.
  • It improves the wellbeing of everyone in a community – whether this be your local area or your workplace, acts of compassion give everyone a positive boost.
  • It helps increase one’s efficiency. Professional and personal life will be balanced by the nourishment of love and compassion. Example: Emotional intelligence skills help in maintaining a great work environment.
  • It can reduce anxiety and depression by giving a different focus – whether that focus is being kind to yourself on a ‘bad’ day or taking the focus away from ourselves.
  • It spreads and is sustainable. A study in the US showed that acts of compassion and kindness have a chain reaction.
  • The feeling of love and compassion doesn’t end with humans itself, the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Example: Rescuing stray dogs and birds.
  • Compassion is a great motivator for action. It brings possibility and hope with it so whether in the workplace or by practicing self-compassion there is more possibility for change
  • It is for this reason that love and compassion are not a luxury but a necessity.

Conclusion:

Love and compassion is the need of the hour. Love and compassion are a state of mind that should be with us all the time. We don’t need to be a saint to practice this in life. There are endless moments when we can shower love and care on others. The feelings of compassion and love are not restricted to other humans but also apply for animals and other living beings. Since we are the most developed of all the creatures on the planet, it is an extra responsibility for us to be considerate to animals and other lower species. It is only these feelings that make us different and above any other living organism on the planet.


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