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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Explain the mechanism of the monsoon rains in India. Discuss in detail its effect and significance on the economy. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article talks about Monsoon rains in India.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is from the geography perspective of the Monsoons; its mechanism and the effect and significance of it on the 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:

Explain briefly the background of the question.

Body:

The monsoon sets in India in the month of June and that process can sometimes be delayed by as much as a week.

One branch of the monsoon winds starts its journey northwards from Kerala and the other wing, called the Bay of Bengal branch, enters India from the southeast. Both branches eventually converge in the north and usually, this merging and strengthening of the monsoon currents over the mainland take at least until July 15.

Explain with suitable diagrams the entire mechanism.

Define the advantages of it on the economy of the country; given the fact that a large portion of Indian agriculture is still dependent on rainfall for irrigation needs; a good rainfall would encourage higher sowing in the Kharif season and higher production.

A good produce could entail higher disposable income in the hands of the rural people and hence provide an impetus to the whole Indian economy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Monsoons are seasonal winds which reverse their direction with the change of season. The monsoon is a double system of seasonal winds. They flow from sea to land during the summer and from land to sea during winter. Monsoons are peculiar to Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia, parts of Central Western Africa etc. Indian Monsoons are Convection cells on a very large scale. They are periodic or secondary winds which seasonal reversal in wind direction.

India appears to be having a good run with the monsoon in 2020. As of the most recent data available from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), rainfall during the season has been 14% more than what is usual for this period.

Body:

Factors responsible for the monsoon rains in India:

  • The differential heating and cooling of land and water creates a low pressure on the landmass of India while the seas around experience comparatively high pressure.
  • The shift of the position of Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in summer, over the Ganga plain (this is the equatorial trough normally positioned about 5°N of the equator. It is also known as the monsoon-trough during the monsoon season).
  • The presence of the high-pressure area, east of Madagascar, approximately at 20°S over the Indian Ocean. The intensity and position of this high-pressure area affect the Indian Monsoon.
  • The Tibetan plateau gets intensely heated during summer, which results in strong vertical air currents and the formation of low pressure over the plateau at about 9 km above sea level.
  • The movement of the westerly jet stream to the north of the Himalayas and the presence of the tropical easterly jet stream over the Indian peninsula during summer.
  • Position and strength of the Tropical Easterly Jet (African Easterly Jet).
  • Southern Oscillation (SO): Normally when the tropical eastern south Pacific Ocean experiences high pressure, the tropical eastern Indian Ocean experiences low pressure. But in certain years, there is a reversal in the pressure conditions and the eastern Pacific has lower pressure in comparison to the eastern Indian Ocean. This periodic change in pressure conditions is known as the SO.
  • Indian Ocean Dipole, which is sustained variations in the difference between tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean surface temperatures
  • Madden-Julian oscillation, an oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon which affects weather activities across the globe. It brings major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales.

Mechanism of Monsoon:

mechanism_of_monsoon

Onset of the South-West Monsoon

  • The location of ITCZ shifts north and south of the equator with the apparent movement of the Sun.
  • During the month of June, the sun shines vertically over the Tropic of Cancer and the ITCZ shifts northwards.
  • The southeast trade winds of the southern hemisphere cross the equator and start blowing in southwest to northeast direction under the influence of Coriolis force.
  • These winds collect moisture as they travel over the warm Indian Ocean.
  • In the month of July, the ITCZ shifts to 20°-25° N latitude and is located in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and the south-west monsoons blow from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The ITCZ in this position is often called the Monsoon Trough.
  • The shift in the position of the ITCZ is also related to the phenomenon of the withdrawal of the westerly jet stream from its position over the north Indian plain, south of the Himalayas.
  • The easterly Jet Stream (Somali Jet) sets in along 15°N latitude only after the western jet stream has withdrawn itself from the region. This easterly jet stream is held responsible for the burst of the monsoon in India.
  • As these winds approach the land, their southwesterly direction is modified by the relief and thermal low pressure over northwest India.
  • The monsoon approaches the Indian landmass in two branches:
    • The Arabian Sea branch: The monsoon winds originating over the Arabian Sea.
    • The Bay of Bengal branch: The Arakan Hills along the coast of Myanmar deflect a big portion of this branch towards the Indian subcontinent. The monsoon, therefore, enters West Bengal and Bangladesh from south and southeast instead of from the south-westerly direction.
  • Another phenomenon associated with the monsoon is its tendency to have ‘breaks’ in rainfall. The monsoon rains take place only for a few days at a time. They are interspersed with rainless intervals. These breaks in monsoon are related to the movement of the monsoon trough.
  • Despite an overall unity in the general pattern, there are perceptible regional variations in climatic conditions within the country.

Break in the monsoon:

  • The monsoon rains take place only for a few days at a time. If rain fails to occur for one or more weeks, it is known as a break in the monsoon. Reasons for the break are:
    • In northern India, rains are likely to fail if the rain-bearing storms are not very frequent along the monsoon trough or the ITCZ over this region.
    • Over the west coast, the dry spells are associated with days when winds blow parallel to the coast.

Retreating Monsoon Season:

  • The retreating southwest monsoon season is marked by clear skies and rise in temperature.
  • The land is still moist. Owing to the conditions of high temperature and humidity, the weather becomes rather oppressive. This is commonly known as the ‘October heat’.
  • In the second half of October, the mercury begins to fall rapidly, particularly in northern India.
  • The weather in the retreating monsoon is dry in north India but it is associated with rain in the eastern part of the Peninsula. Here, October and November are the rainiest months of the year.
  • The widespread rain in this season is associated with the passage of cyclonic depressions which originate over the Andaman Sea and manage to cross the eastern coast of the southern Peninsula. These tropical cyclones are very destructive.
  • A bulk of the rainfall of the Coromandel Coast is derived from these depressions and cyclones.
  • Unlike the rest of the country, which receives rain in the southwest monsoon season between June and September, the northeast monsoon is crucial for farming and water security in the south.

Significance of Monsoon on Indian economy: 

  • The monsoon is important for India’s farm-dependent $2 trillion economy.
  • It is a crucial source of water supply necessary for agriculture, industry and households in the country.
  • India gets around 70 percent of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season.
  • This affects the yield of some key kharif crops like rice, pulses and oilseeds such as soybeans.
  • Around 50% of India’s total food output comes in the form of Kharif crops.
  • India is primarily an agrarian economy—agriculture contributes 16% of India’s GDP.
  • It is also crucial for rabi crops as monsoon has an impact on the ground water and also reservoirs which are critical for rabi crops irrigation.
  • Bumper farm output keeps food prices under control and keep inflation in check.
  • This boosts demand for consumer goods as well as income of rural people.
  • All of this leads to a stronger economic outlook that in turn help lift equities, especially of companies selling goods in rural areas.
  • Monsoon rains also replenish reservoirs and groundwater that helps in improving irrigation and also boosts hydropower production.
  • Good Monsoon can reduce demand for subsidized diesel used for pumping water for irrigation.
  • Good monsoon also checks government spending.
  • Industries use raw materials like cotton, sugarcane, vegetable oils and natural rubber. The prices of these raw material fall in times of good monsoons.
  • The loan portfolio of banks rises and banks net interest margins also rise.
  • Easy interest rates prevail in the economy and bank stocks rise in value.
  • A good monsoon will mean more farm related employment leading to a higher cash flow into the economy, all with a positive impact on the overall GDP.

Effects of poor monsoon on Indian economy:

  • A poor monsoon season can have a rippling effect on India’s economy and overall GDP growth of India.
  • A delayed monsoon can lead to supply issues and even accelerate food inflation.
  • Higher food inflation translates into higher interest rates, which in turn raises the borrowing cost across the country and impacts profitability.
  • Below normal monsoon can also lead to drought-like situation, thereby affecting the rural household incomes.
  • Other sectors affected by the health of the rural economy are banking, NBFCs and microfinance institutions.
  • Droughts result in NPAs, as farmers are unable to repay loans.
  • Groundwater levels will continue to fall dangerously.
  • This affects the farm sector which employs over half of the total population of India.
  • Crop failure and/or deficient rainfall is one big reason for mass farmer suicides across the country.
  • A poor monsoon weakens demand for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) products, tractors, two-wheelers and rural housing.
  • It forces the government to spend on the import of food as well as take measures like farm loan waivers. These widen fiscal deficit.
  • This not only results in banks facing losses, it also disturbs the credit discipline of borrowers.
  • The impact even ripples overseas, as commodity markets are starved of Indian sugar and rice.
  • States like Kerala, Karnataka, MP and Maharashtra -could face challenges from a deficit monsoon, as they have poor irrigation availability.

Way forward:

  • Monsoon does play a big role in India. It has social, political, as well as economic implications. Thus monsoon doesn’t only affect the crops but all the industries in the country.
  • The monsoon-dependent Indian economy needs climate-sensitive budgeting.
  • The excessive dependence on monsoon may be mitigated by the construction of modern irrigation canals, afforestation, and diversification of Indian industries.
  • Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level.
  • Develop climate-smart agriculture practices.
  • Build adaptive capacities to climate variability and strengthen the sustainability of farming systems.
  • Preventive measures for drought that include growing of pulses and oilseeds instead of rice.
  • Mobile telecommunication systems are increasingly cost-effective and an efficient way of delivering weather-based agro-advisories to farmers at a large scale.

 

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

2. Discuss the successes and failures of the moderate phase of the Indian National movement. (250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian history by Bipin Chandra

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the successes and failures of the moderate phase of the Indian National movement.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly introduce with the moderate phase of the Indian National movement, its duration, important leaders, demands, methods, etc.

Body:

Start by explaining that the moderate phase of the Indian National movement refers to the first two decades of the formation of the Indian National Congress (1885-1905). It was guided by the moderate ideologies/methods of leaders of INC such as Dadabhai Nairoji, G. K. Gokhale, W. C. Banerjee,Ferozshah Mehta and others, who came to be known as Moderates.

Their key demands were administrative and legislative reforms of the country, reduction of military expenditures, and introduction of representative institutions, etc. Their methods included peaceful and constitutional methods to demand reforms using prayers, petitions, protests, meetings, resolutions, pamphlets, memoranda and delegations. They had faith in the British justice system.

Highlight the successes as well as failures/limitations of the moderates

Conclusion:

Conclude briefly with their overall contribution to the Indian National movement

Introduction:

The phase of the Indian National Congress or the Indian national movement during the first twenty years of its history is roughly referred to as moderate phase. They were people who believed in British justice and were loyal to them. They believed in peaceful and constitutional methods to demand and fulfil those demands. Used petitions, meetings, resolutions, pamphlets, memoranda and delegations to voice their demands. Their method has been called 3P – Prayers, Petition and Protest.

The moderate leaders included Dadabhai Naoroji, WC Bonnerjee, G Subramanya Aiyer, GK Gokhale, SN Bannerjee, Rash Behari Ghosh, R C Dutta, M G Ranade, Pherozeshah Mehta, P R Naidu, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Ananda Charlu, S Subramania Iyer and William Wedderburn.

Body: 

Aims and demands of the moderates: 

  • Education of the masses and organising public opinion, make people aware of their rights.
  • Indian representation in the Executive Council and in the Indian Council in London.
  • Reform of the legislative councils.
  • Separation of the executive from the judiciary.
  • Decreased land revenue tax and ending peasant oppression.
  • After 1892, raised the slogan, “No taxation without representation.”
  • Reduced spending on the army.
  • Abolishing salt tax and duty on sugar.
  • Holding the ICS exam in India along with England to allow more Indians the opportunity to take part in the administration.
  • Freedom of speech and expression.
  • Freedom to form associations.
  • Development of modern capitalist industries in India.
  • End of economic drain of India by the British.
  • Repealing the Arms Act of 1878.
  • Increasing spending on education of Indians.

Successes of Moderate phase:

  • Economic critique of colonialism by moderates:
    • The most significant historical contribution of the moderates was that they offered an economic critique of colonialism.
    • The early nationalists took note of all the three forms of contemporary colonial economic exploitation, namely, through trade, industry and finance. They clearly grasped that the essence of British economic imperialism lay in the subordination of the Indian economy to the British economy.
    • They complained of India’s growing poverty and economic backwardness and the failure of modern industry and agriculture to grow and they put the blame on British economic exploitation.
    • British colonialism had transformed itself in the 19th century by jettisoning the direct modes of extraction through plunder, tribute and mercantilism in favour of free trade and foreign capital investment. This turned India into a supplier of agricultural raw materials and foodstuffs and a consumer of manufactured goods.
    • Dadabhai Naoroji’s work focused on the drain of wealth from India into England through colonial rule. Naoroji’s work on the drain theory was the main reason behind the creation of the Royal commission on Indian Expenditure in 1896 in which he was also a member.
  • Excellent work in legislative councils:
    • Indian Councils Act of 1892 was the first achievement of the INC.
    • This Act increased the size of the legislative councils and also increased the proportion of non-officials in them.
    • Legislative councils in India had no real official power till 1920. Yet, work done in them by the nationalists helped the growth of the national movement.
    • They wanted to broaden Indian participation in legislatures.
    • Nationalists were able to transform these councils into forums for ventilating popular grievances, for exposing the defects of an indifferent bureaucracy, for criticising government policies/proposals, raising basic economic issues, especially regarding public finance.
    • Early nationalists worked with the long-term objective of a democratic self-government.
    • The scope of constitutional demands was widened and they demanded self-government like the self-governing colonies of Canada and Australia.
    • Also, leaders like Pherozshah Mehta and Gokhale put government policies and proposals to severe criticism.
    • They were able to sow the seeds of nationalism in the people.
    • They popularised ideals like democracy, liberty and equality. 
  • Administrative:
    • The first demand of the moderates was for the Indianisation of the services. An Indianised civil service would be more responsive to the Indian needs. It would stop the drainage of money, which was annually expatriated through the payment of salary and pension of the European officers. More significantly, this reform was being advocated as a measure against racism.
    • They demanded Separation of judicial from executive functions.
    • The other administrative demands of the moderates included the extension of trial by jury, repeal of the arms act, and a campaign against the exploitation of the indentured labour at the Assam tea gardens, Increase in expenditure on welfare i.e., health, sanitation, education, irrigation works and improvement of agriculture, agricultural banks for cultivators, etc.
    • They demanded better treatment for Indian labour abroad in other British colonies, who faced oppression and racial discrimination there.
  • Military:
    • Moderates demanded that this military expenditure should be evenly shared by the British government. They demanded higher positions for Indians in the army.
  • Social:
    • Some Moderates like Ranade and Gokhale favoured social reforms.
    • They protested against child marriage and widowhood.
  • Defence of Civil Rights:
    • The early Indian nationalists were attracted to modern civil rights, namely, the freedoms of speech, the Press, thought and association. They put up a strong defence of these civil rights whenever the Government tried to curtail them.
    • The struggle for democratic freedoms became an integral part of the nationalist struggle for freedom.

Limitations: 

  • However British rule, to most of them seemed to be an act of providence destined to bring in modernization.
  • The moderate politicians could not or did not organize an agitation against British rule because of them still shred an intrinsic faith in the English democratic liberal political tradition.
  • Their politics was very limited in terms of goals and methods. They were secular in their attitudes, though not always forthright enough to rise above their sectarian interests. They were conscious of the exploitative nature of British rule, but wanted its reforms and not expulsion.
  • They equated liberty with class privilege and wanted gradual or piecemeal reforms.
  • Early Congressman had an implicit faith in the efficacy of peaceful and constitutional agitation as opposed to popular mean of agitation.
  • The movement was confined to the educated classes only. Did not try to employ the masses.
  • Believed in Petition, Prayer and Protest. They did not go for mass mobilisation. The basic weakness of the early national movement lay in its narrow social base. It did not penetrate down to the masses. In fact, the leaders lacked faith in the masses.
  • Their immediate demand was not for full self-government or democracy. They demanded democratic rights only for the educated members of the Indian society, who would substitute for the masses.

Conclusion: 

Despite limitations representation, the historical significance of the early Congress lay in the fact that by providing an economic critique of colonialism and by linking Indian poverty to it, the moderate politicians had constructed a discursive field within which the subsequent nationalists attack on colonialism could be conceptualized.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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.

3. Debate upon the arguments in favour of a decentralized form of governance. Also examine the challenges in the implementation of such a governance model in the Indian setting. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The author Arun Maira, a former member of the Planning Commission, in the article  argues for a more decentralized form of governance model in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss and present arguments in favor of a decentralized form of governance. Also examine the challenges in the implementation of such a governance model in the Indian setting.

Directive:

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain about decentralisation in short.

Body:

The author argues that the existing institutional structure which has been put through a stress test by the current global health and economic crises has failed to live up to the expectations. The pandemic has brought to light the existing flaws in current governance institutions.

Breakdowns in subsystems during the pandemic such as health care, logistics, business, finance, and administration had to be managed at the same time. The complexity of handling so many subsystems at the same time has overwhelmed governance.

Discuss what could be the possible solutions.

Present Arguments in favour of decentralization and conclude with solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude that local system of governance is the only way humanity will be able to meet the new ecological and humanitarian challenges looming over it in the 21st century.

Introduction:

Decentralization can be defined as transfer or dispersal of decision-making powers, accompanied by delegation of required authority to individuals or units at all levels of organization even if they are located far away from the Power Centre. In the context of the present discussion, decentralization signifies the devolution of powers and authority of governance of the Union Government and State Governments to the sub-state level organizations i.e. Panchayats in India.

Body: 

Decentralized form of Governance is a win-win for both people and country:

  • Decentralization is necessary to strengthen participatory democracy, facilitate responsive governance, ensure greater accountability and enable public service delivery according to diversified preferences of the people.
  • It is also seen as a means to strengthen the democratic fabric through participatory governance and responsive public service delivery. Village Panchayats can prioritize and execute the development plan curated as per the needs of the people.
  • People led Development: Moving away from one size fits all approach and a top-down developmental model will go a long way in addressing region specific issue.
  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments (11th and 12th Schedule), by constitutionally establishing Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in India, mandated the establishment of panchayats and municipalities as elected local governments.
  • They devolved a range of powers and responsibilities to the local governments and made them accountable to the people for their implementation.
  • The Constitution assigns decentralization including funding entirely to the discretion of State governments. The constitutional framework does not prescribe any pattern, standard or model of decentralization which is left to the discretion of State governments.
  • A democratic form of government must be sustained by a system of vigorous local self-government institutions.
  • Local government institutions provide an opportunity to the people to participate freely and actively in the governance and policy making which they formulate for their respective areas.
  • These are necessary to encourage and foster initiative, independence, and enterprise on the part of the people.
  • Laski said “local government offers the best opportunity to the people to bring local knowledge, interest and enthusiasm to bear on the solution of their problems.
  • It not only relieves congestion at the centre but it also checks the increasing power of democracy. It stands positively for the distribution and diffusion of power leading to administrative de- concentration and de- centralization. Being closer to the original base, it finds solution for local problems more efficiently (No ‘one size fits all’ approach).
  • There have been lots of positives like improvement in women participation, building the foundation for participatory democracy, utilization of local resources, customization of projects to local needs. 

Current Issues with governance system amid the pandemic:

  • Governance systems at all levels, i.e. global, national, and local, have experienced stress as a fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Architectural flaws have been revealed in their design. Breakdowns in many subsystems had to be managed at the same time in health care, logistics, business, finance, and administration.
  • Consequently, the complexity of handling so many subsystems at the same time have overwhelmed governance.
  • Also when we devise solutions for one subsystem, it backfired on other subsystems.
  • For instance, lockdown was invoked to manage the health crisis but have made it harder to manage economic distress.
  • On the other hand, the diversion of resources to focus on the threat to life posed by coronavirus pandemic has ultimately increased vulnerabilities to death from other diseases, and even from malnutrition in many parts of India.

Other challenges faced by the local Self-governance institutions

Even after 25 years of existence, they have failed to be effective instruments of governance. The factors mentioned below combinedly resulted in ineffectiveness of local self-governments.

  • Systemic issues:
    • State finance commissions are not as effective as central finance commission
    • State election commissions are alleged over issues like delimitation of constituencies.
  • Issues related to funds functions and functionaries
    • Devolution of powers as per eleventh schedule except in few states like Kerala, Madhya Pradesh is not satisfactory.
  • Capacity building of both panchayats and urban local bodies is not proportional to the responsibilities they are assigned.
  • Departmentalization of development: A lot of government bodies have sidelined local bodies. For example, recently in Haryana, a rural development agency, presided over by the Chief Minister, to enter into the functional domain of panchayats.
  • Legislative approval of these parallel bodies legitimises the process of weakening decentralised democracy.
  • Mani Shankar Aiyyar committee observed that decentralization has led to decentralization of corruption
  • There are criticisms that initiatives like smart city projects affect the autonomy of urban local bodies.
  • In urban areas, participation from people in elections as well as in governance is very limited.
  • Structural lacunae:
    • No secretarial support – No dedicated carder of people or service is working for Panchayati raj. This make administrative and documentation work very difficult.
    • Low technical knowledge – has restricted the aggregation of planning from village to block to district to state to centre. Hence bottom up approach of planning is very limited.
    • Adhoc meetings – lack of clear setting of agenda in gram sabha, gram samiti meetings; there is lot of adhocism; no proper structure

Measures needed to strengthen local self-governance:

  • Inclusive decision making:
    • Ward committees and area sabhas should be activated with a technology- enabled ‘Open Cities Framework’ and the use of digital tools for feedback and reporting.
    • There must be active contributors of knowledge for, and active participants in, the creation of the solutions.
    • In case of Gram Sabhas, their functions and roles must be clearly defined as in the PESA Act, to enable to function effectively.
    • In addition, the knowledge of different experts about the environment, the society, and the economy must come together to fit realities on the ground.
  • Governance by the people by Citizen Participation:
    • Governance of the people must not only be for the people. It must be by the people too.
    • Social Audit: The power of social audit was proven by Jan Sunwai in Rajasthan. Transparent, third party Social Audit can enable people to hold the representatives accountable.
    • Gandhiji and his economic advisers, J.C. Kumarappa and others, had developed their solutions of local enterprises through observations and experiments on the ground.
    • Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, in 2009, had developed the principles for self-governing communities from research on the ground in many countries, including India.
  • Condition-specific problem solving:
    • Solutions must fit the specific conditions of each country, and of each locality within countries too, to fit the shape of the environment and the condition of society there.
  • Learning from the best practices:
    • A hypothesis is that those States and countries in which local governance was stronger have done much better than others.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic has not passed yet, but evidence is emerging that some States in India, such as Kerala, have weathered the storm better than others.
    • Also, countries such as Vietnam and Taiwan have performed better than others.
  • Proactive role of the government:
    • The government has to support and enable people to govern themselves, to realize the vision of ‘government of the people, for the people, by the people’.
    • This is also the only way humanity will be able to meet the ecological and humanitarian challenges looming over it in the 21st century.
  • Changing Roles of public officials and functioning of schemes:
    • The officials need to realize that there needs to be a change of their role as ‘deliverers of good government’ to ‘enablers of governance’.
    • The District collector’s task has become complicated when the numbers of government schemes multiplied of which some are designed by the central government, and others by the State government.
    • The citizens currently also do not know how many schemes there are and what they are entitled to. Therefore, awareness generation also needs to be prioritized.
  • Urban Local bodies:
    • Metropolitan governance systems are needed in million-plus cities. There is a strong case for having a two-tier governance structure where all local functions are transferred to the ward committees and citywide services, such as transportation, water supply, sewerage, etc., are vested with the city council or regional authorities.
    • Each city needs to be recognized as a distinct unit of the economy. In larger cities, City Economic Councils can serve as a clearinghouse.

Conclusion

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

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Discuss the factors that create a requirement for “Crop Insurance” in India. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in 

Why the question:

The article brings to us review on the progress and implementation of revamped PMFBY.

Key Demand of the question:

One must elucidate upon the factors that create a requirement for “Crop Insurance” in 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:

Start by explaining the importance of “Crop insurance” to the Indian system of agriculture.

Body:

Define crop insurance first; Crop insurance is a means of protecting farmers against the variations in yield resulting from uncertainty of practically all natural factors beyond their control such as rainfall (drought or excess rainfall), flood, hails, other weather variables (temperature, sunlight, wind), pest infestation, etc.

What are the possible factors that necessitate crop insurance in the Indian agriculture system? Explain – Due to high dependency on weather, Indian farmers are highly exposed   to   risk   arising   from   deviation   in   rainfall,   fluctuation   of   temperature,   hailstorms, cyclones, drought, flood, cold waves   etc.  This   risk is aggravated by poor rural   infrastructure, imperfect   markets   and   lack   of   financial   services   including   limited   span of   risk   mitigation instruments such as   credit   and insurance. All   these factors heavily affect farm production and income and they are beyond the control of   farmers.

Conclusion:

Conclude with efforts of the government in this direction.

Introduction:

Crop insurance is a means of protecting farmers against the variations in yield resulting from uncertainty of practically all natural factors beyond their control such as rainfall (drought or excess rainfall), flood, hails, other weather variables (temperature, sunlight, wind), pest infestation, etc. Crop insurance is a vital component of agriculture, especially in a country such as India, where the majority of farmers are small and marginal with low savings that reduces their ability to weather agricultural risks and fluctuations.

Body:

Recently the Centre decided to restrict its premium subsidy in its flagship crop insurance schemes to 30% for unirrigated areas and 25% for irrigated areas (from the existing unlimited), and to make enrolment of farmers in the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) voluntary from the 2020 Kharif season.

Factors that create a requirement for “Crop Insurance” in India:

  • India is having one of the largest agriculture depending population in the world.
  • Agriculture is a high-risk profession as most of the farmers depend on rain and the general weather conditions to grow their crops. Hence there is a need to protect farmers from agriculture variability.
  • Agriculture in India is highly susceptible to risks like droughts and floods.
  • It is necessary to protect the farmers from natural calamities.
  • Crop or Agriculture Insurance covers risks of anticipated loss in yield of various crops.
  • Crop yield instability is the normal condition and agriculture continues still to be which the farmer’s fortunes are exposed, is practically the same as before.
  • Price fluctuation of agricultural crops are high, and this necessitates insurance against income failure.
  • Indian agriculture has been progressively acquiring a ‘small farm’ character. The total number of operational holdings in the country increased from 138 million in 2010–11 to 146 million in 2015–16, i.e. an increase of 5.33 percent.
  • In India, such small average holdings do not allow for surpluses that can financially sustain families. India’s primary failure has been its inability to capitalise on technology and efficient agricultural practices, which can ensure surpluses despite small landholdings.
  • The commercialisation of agriculture leads to an increase in credit needs, but most of the small and marginal farmers cannot avail credit from formal institutions due to the massive defaulting caused by repeated crop failure.
  • Higher incidence of extreme weather events aggravates agrarian distress. Floods and droughts leave farmers in a period of flux. A lack of preparedness makes them vulnerable to harvest losses, especially given the money already paid for capital, e.g. seeds and fertilisers. This results in fluctuating incomes and unstable livelihoods.
  • Lackadaisical implementation of agricultural policies, render farmers highly vulnerable.
  • Thus, Crop insurance schemes were formulated to tackle such issues that hinder the productivity of the agricultural sector and to reduce their negative financial impact on farmers. Such schemes attempt to not only stabilise farm income but also create investment, which can help initiate production after a bad agricultural year.

Measures needed to ensure the success of Crop Insurance in India:

  • Social audits, digital transfer of money, cross checks by various authorities and integration and consolidation of schemes
  • Utilise technology by digital money transfer to beneficiaries
  • Promote private sector participation in crop insurance segment like being done in Spain and Mexico, where government oversees agriculture insurance by private players
  • Using satellite (remote sensing), drones, etc. accurate and prompt data collection can be collected for providing insurance in various regions.
  • Accurate Weather forecasting using satellite imagery and advanced computer generated models can provide better and fast early warning to reduce losses.
  • Dispensing easy availability of internet to farmers will allow farmers to learn and implement new technology. Such as using Soil sensors that can broadcast real-time data about the state of the soil.
  • Improvement in Financial Services by Digitization of primary agriculture credit societies (PACs) and connecting them to district banks will allow easy loan and insurance disbursal. This will reduce exclusion as well as the delay in payments.

Conclusion:

Crop insurance schemes will assure the farmers that they will be compensated for losses against natural calamities. These schemes will not only spread the losses geographically but also spread them over the time. The raison d’être of crop insurance is the stability it imparts to the agricultural produce. Therefore, the earlier the scheme is put into operation, the better it will be for the farmers and for the nation.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Write a short note on the idea of “Transformation of Indian Railways as Net Zero Carbon Network by 2030”. (250 words)

Reference: Times Now News 

Why the question:

The article talks about Transformation of Indian Railways as Net Zero Carbon Network by 2030.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the idea of Transformation of Indian Railways as Net Zero Carbon Network by 2030.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Talk about the steps of Indian Railways towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions and transformation of Indian Railways into Green Railways.

Body:

Discuss the steps in this direction in detail – Railway Electrification, Improving energy efficiency of locomotives and fixed installations, Green certification for stations, Bio Toilets etc.  

India, initially tried to reduce dependency on coal, have turned to large scale electrification of railway lines. The thermal power being the chief source of electricity in India has again raised the eyebrows. Therefore, the transformation to RE Projects like, Solar, Wind Energy has become inevitable. Switching to renewable energy resources etc.

Explain how does all they steps contribute to the Environment? What Does It Mean to Reach Net-Zero Emissions?

Conclusion:

Conclude with advantages of the idea and way ahead.

Introduction:

Indian Railways (IR) has the fourth-largest rail network in the world, behind only the US, China and Russia. It is a network of 70,000km, spanning 29 states, three Union territories and 8,500 stations. It runs about 21,000 trains, two-thirds of which are passenger trains, carrying 23 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of freight per day.

With such huge network and operations, as per the NITI Aayog data, Carbon Dioxide emission from Indian Railway was around 6.84 million tons in 2014. Amid global concern over climate change, Indian railways is also working to reduce the carbon emission. Indian Railways has decided to take essential steps to transform itself into a ‘net zero’ carbon emission transportation network by 2030.

Body:

Indian railways’ move towards Green mode of transportation:

  • India is the third-largest energy consumer in the world in absolute terms, after the United States, but per capita, energy consumption is very low. There is a need for a healthy mix of all commercial energy sources.
  • The national transporter plans to solarise railway stations by utilizing its vacant lands for renewable energy projects.
  • According to the Railway Ministry, Indian Railways is committed to utilize solar energy for meeting the requirements of its traction power as well as become a complete ‘Green mode of transportation’.
  • The Railway Ministry has decided to install solar power plants on its vacant lands that are unused on mega scale.
  • The use of solar power in the Indian Railways network will accelerate Railways mission to achieve the conversion of the national transporter to ‘Net Zero’ Carbon Emission Mass Transportation Network.
  • The present demand for Indian Railways would be fulfilled by the solar power projects that are being deployed, making it the first transport organization to be energy self-sufficient. The move would help in making the national transporter green as well as ‘Atma Nirbhar’.

Benefits of the move:

  • Indian Railways is adopting an innovative concept of installation of solar projects along operational railway lines. This will help in:
    • Preventing encroachment.
    • Enhancing the speed and safety of trains.
    • Reduction of infrastructure costs due to direct injection of solar power into the traction network.
  • The Government is phasing out the old coal plants, which is going to help reduce environmental pollution, and will also create the demand for new plants and spur the investment cycle.

Steps already taken towards ‘Green mode of transportation’:

  • Indian Railways has acted as a pioneer in the procurement of green energy.
  • The procurement of energy has been started by Indian Railways from various solar power projects such as 3 MWp solar plant set up at MCF Raebareilly.
  • Also, around 100 MWp rooftop solar systems have been commissioned already on various Indian Railways stations and buildings.
  • Besides, in a first of its kind project in the world, Indian Railways in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is commissioning a project of 1.7 MWp at Bina.
  • This solar power plant can produce around 25 lakh units of energy yearly and will save around Rs 1.37 crore for the national transporter every year.
  • Also, two other such pilot projects are under implementation. One of them is a 50 MWp solar power plant at Bhilai, located in the state of Chhattisgarh.
  • The other one is a 2 MWp solar plant at Diwana, in the state of Haryana.

Conclusion:

With these mega initiatives, Indian Railways is leading India’s fight against climate challenge and is taking significant steps towards meeting its ambitious goal of being a net-zero carbon emissions organisation and meeting India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) targets. This would also help in making Indian Railways a complete ‘Green mode’ of transportation and ‘Atmanirbhar’.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world

6. In context of current declining political condition of the nation states across the world, deliberate upon the need for Plato’s “Philosopher King”.  (250 words)

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

Why the question:

The question is amidst the declining political conditions of the Nation States across the world.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain in detail the relevance and significance of Plato’s concept of “Philosopher King”. 

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the concept of Philosopher King as propounded by Plato.

Body:

Explain that the good political conditions of a nation are stability and equilibrium in political scenario, proper dialogue among political leaders, transparency in government functioning and accountability of leaders towards the citizens. In recent time, issues like lack of internal party democracy, criminalisation in politics, corrupt practices in public life, lack of responsibility on the parts of world’s leaders, lack of answerability for the people, rise of ultra-nationalism, right wing tendencies, horse trading, lack of deliberations in the Parliament, use of money and muscle power have changed the political conditions to disadvantages.

Discuss the significance of Plato’s concept in current political crises.

Conclusion:

Conclude on the lines that if today’s leaders adopt these qualities, political conditions can improve a lot.

Introduction:

Plato’s Idea of “Philosopher King”, desires the King or head to Be Wisdom Lover, looking all aspects before taking any action. Plato writes in The Republic that until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, cities will never have rest from their evils. He also states that Head should be risen above his harmful temptation, must be vigil, open to Ideas, always promoting security and welfare of people, learning through various sources, non-violence, avoiding extravagance, indulging in association to harm others and discouraging such association.

Body:

Need for Plato’s “Philosopher King” in today’s declining political condition:

  • There are around 200 countries in the world and the number is still growing day by day.
  • For the welfare establishment of social system in any country there is one or the other form of government.
  • None of them are neither flawless completely nor faulty wholly.
  • All the forms have been experienced by different states in the world and are being experienced even today.
  • The current Polity is laced with corruption, based on caste/community identity, vote bank politics, dearth of wise and virtuous leaders etc.
  • Politicians of today are, generally, self-centered. They enter politics for their career gains neglecting interests of subjects. Many a time they try to create difference between subjects and divide society based on Caste, Class or Community. Under these circumstances the kind of leaders like “Philosopher King or Rajarshi ” are certainly in need.
  • In every country there are some evils like poverty, corruption, looting, dacoit, rape, murder, molestation which are destructive elements of society which were found in ancient period and is seen in the present scenario as well.
  • Plato emphasized that knowledge is a virtue and kings that gains knowledge and philosophize are in a true sense virtuous and wise. this quality is utmost important in the contemporary world where development is only possible through knowledge, developing world are home to large illiterate people and politicians need to imbibe this virtue.
  • A philosopher in current political context does not necessarily mean an academician of philosophy but a person who has the sense of ethical concepts and understanding of wisdom, courage, moderation, justice, and the sense of practical utility. The concept of philosopher king not only remains theoretical but also becomes practical.
  • Plato’s ideals of wisdom, courage, moderation and justice if taken by any administrator and used consciously then it can help to make administration people oriented and lead to an optimum ideal society. From this point of view Plato’s ethical theory is significant.

However, the ideas may not be much use in literal fashion in today’s scenario as:

  • Today most of States are democratic where leaders are elected by people whereas in the times of Plato hardly modern concept of Democracy was there. Plato considered democracy as a rule of mob and thus, put faith in philosophers acting as king.
  • Overemphasis on ideal King may result into Despotic and Totalitarian systems as has been observed in case of Hitler and Stalin etc.
  • Philosophers may not know the complex economic and external/internal problems of modern government.

Conclusion:

Present day political leaders are therefore required to be learned as philosophers, but not exclusive as philosopher who are often characterized by the unattainable quality of their intellects. It is essential for the leader to act, be and represent a layman. The significance and meteoric rise of certain leaders like Mandela and Gandhi are essentially because of these factors: the ability to imbibe values other than of saintly kings. In order to be successfully governed, a leader must be willing to be governed by the ones below him/her. Although the ideas of “Rajarshi” or “Philosopher King” may be obsolete in literal sense for modern polity, the ideals of justice, fairness, taking care of subjects, prudence and virtue are still very much relevant.

 

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. Examine the relevance of the following in the context of civil services:

(a) Integrity

(b) Principle of Legality (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to throw light on the concepts of ‘Integrity’ and ‘Principle of Legality’.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the two concepts in detail; highlight their key features, their importance in application of ethics in the context of civil services.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining the meaning of each term.

Body:

Integrity is an uncompromising and consistent commitment to honour moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles. Integrity compels us to be socially conscious and to welcome both personal and professional responsibility. It encourage us to be honest in all our dealings and committed to a lifelong search for truth and justice.

The principle of legality is a rule of statutory interpretation. According to A. V. Dicey, it is part of the rule of law that “every official, from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen.”

Then move onto discuss the advantages of the two concepts in the context of civil services, give examples wherever possible to explain and justify better.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such virtues in the context of the civil services.

  1. Integrity:

Integrity is the practice of synchronization of thought, words and actions. It can be correlated to honesty but unlike honesty it’s more a professional value. It’s related to institution. It advocates sacrifice of personal gains in favour of organisational objectives

Integrity in its bare-bones essence means adherence to principles. It is a three-step process:

  • Choosing the right course of conduct
  • Acting consistently with the choice even when it is inconvenient or unprofitable to do so
  • Openly declaring where one stands.
  • Accordingly, integrity is equated with moral reflection, steadfastness to commitments, trustworthiness

Integrity is supreme quality of leadership – Dwight Eisenhower

  • If leader acts with integrity, that leader will treat the employees’ right and do what’s best for the business.
  • Ethical behavior starts at the top and allows companies to create a culture that values integrity.
  • Leaders with integrity actually strengthen the business. Companies with strong, ethical management teams enhance their ability to attract investors, customers and talented professionals.
  • The link between integrity and trust cannot be overestimated in the leader-employee relationship.
  • Leaders with integrity hold themselves accountable not just to their superiors but also to their peers and staff.
  • They treat everyone fairly, regardless of a person’s standing in the organization.

Relevance to Civil services:

  • To prevent unethical practices like misconduct, fraud, favouritism, criminalization of governance, self-centred functionaries and corruption in governance.
  • To ensure public interest and cooperation in governance for participatory governance. It will bring the lost public trust back.
  • To cater to the needs of all sections of society. So that inclusive growth is achieved.
  • To bring in good governance (Accountability, transparency, integrity, Confidentiality etc.)
  • To ensure the equitable and just distribution of resources.
  • To ensure compliance of civil servants with laws, processes and codes

Present day civil servants need to perform multiple functions of giving suggestions to political representatives, addressing public grievances, institutionalization of the socio economic changes, delivering goods and services. Hence a value committed bureaucracy is need of hour.

  1. Principle of Legality:

The principle of legality is the legal ideal that requires all law to be clear, ascertainable and non-retrospective. It requires decision makers to resolve disputes by applying legal rules that have been declared beforehand, and not to alter the legal situation retrospectively by discretionary departures from established law. It is closely related to legal formalism and the rule of law and can be traced from the writings of Feuerbach, Dicey and Montesquieu.

The principle of legality is a rule of statutory interpretation. According to A. V. Dicey, it is part of the rule of law that “every official, from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a collector of taxes, is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen.”

The principle of legality according to A.V. Dicey has 3 fundamental principles:

  • Absence of arbitrary power, that is, no man is punished except for a breach of law
  • Equality before the law: equal subjection of all citizens (rich or poor, high or low, official or non-official) to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law courts
  • The primacy of the rights of individual, that is, the constitution is the result of the rights of the individual as defined and enforced by courts of law, rather than constitution being the source of the individual rights

Relevance to Civil Services:

  • The principle has particular relevance in criminal and administrative law.
  • In criminal law it can be seen in the general prohibition on the imposition of criminal sanctions for acts or omissions that were not criminal at the time of their commission or omission.
  • The principle is also thought to be violated when the sanctions for a particular crime are increased with retrospective effect.
  • In administrative law it can be seen in the desire for state officials to be bound by and apply the law rather than acting upon whim.
  • As such advocates of the principle are normally against discretionary powers.
  • Rule of law gives a definitive path to follow irrespective of the situations and provide certainty of actions to be followed by the government. E.g. Demolition of a slum/ road side vendors create a dilemma, but is necessary.
  • Being democratically elected, public representatives often give orders to officials which creates ethical dilemmas whether to follow the representative or the public interest. Following rule of law will help in overcoming the same and help civil servants to function without fear or favor.
  • Following the rule of law will help the government in proactive disclosure of information vital for the public, but at the same time withholding the information vital for national security.
  • Equality, though a basic virtue to be followed, equity is necessary. Even the constitution under article 14 provides for differential treatment and upholding it will help in overcoming the sense of discrimination created by differential treatment.

As an exigency of the modern state, the principle of legality has developed along with the current legislative systems as a warranty of their efficiency and has become a sine qua non prerequisite in the elaboration and contemporary law enforcement. The mandatory character of complying with the constitution, its supremacy and the laws by all the individual citizens and legal entities, including the state authorities and institutions ensures the order and hierarchy of the legislative assembly, as a manifestation of will of the state.


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