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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

1. Chandrashekhar’s ‘Azad’ vision has not been fructified in India even after all these years. Comment on Azad’s ideology and his contributions to India’s struggle for Independence. (250 words)

Why this question?

Revolutionaries like Azad dreamt of liberating their country from the shackles of enslavement and did not shy away from making any sacrifice whatsoever on the altar of their motherland. The question is, how have their cherished dreams been taken forward? How have things come to such a pass that notwithstanding all the slogans of making the revolutionaries’ dreams come true, those at the helm of the nation today have not the slightest affinity for their hopes and aspirations?

Key demand of the question:

Entire focus should be on his ideology and contributions. However, you should comment on these aspects.

Directive Word:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion there upon. 

Structure of Answer:

Introduction:

write a few lines on how heroes like Azad has left indelible mark and why their ideology and sacrifice is relevant even today. 

Body:

In the First part, comment on Azad’s ideology – its merits, demerits, its influence etc.

Discuss why his ideologies have still not been fructified in India even after all these years. Try to link with present issues.

In the Second part, comment on his contributions – their futility or enduring relevance etc.

Conclusion:

write which traits of these revolutionaries can emulate. Or come up with a conclusion that honours sacrifices of Azad and other revolutionaries.

Introduction

As a freedom fighter, Azad died young, at the age of 24, but not before creating a stir with other revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The four men were part of the radical Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA), which had grown disillusioned with the non-violence struggle.

“If yet your blood does not rage, then it is water that flows in your veins. For what is the flush of youth, if it is not of service to the motherland,” Chandra Shekhar Azad had said once.

Body

Azad’s Ideology

  • Chandrashekhar Azad was deeply troubled by the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar in 1919. In 1921, when Mahatma Gandhi launched Non-Cooperation movement, Chandrasekhar Azad actively participated in revolutionary
  • He received his first punishment at the age of fifteen. Chandra Shekhar was caught while indulging in revolutionary activities. When the magistrate asked him his name, he said “Azad” (meaning free).
  • From then on Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to known as Chandrashekhar Azad.
  • Chandrashekhar Azad vowed that he would never be arrested by the British police and would die as free man.
  • After the suspension of non-cooperation movement, Chandrashekhar Azad was attracted towards more aggressive and revolutionary ideals.
  • He committed himself to complete independence by any means. Chandrashekhar Azad and his compatriots would target British officials known for their oppressive actions against ordinary people and freedom fighters.
  • The HRA was later revamped under the leadership of Azad and Bhagat Singh and rechristened as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA). Azad was the All-India coordinator of the newly-formed group while Bhagat Singh was its general secretary.
  • Azad became greatly influenced by the trade unionism and communism of its times.

Why the ideology was not fructified?

  • Like many other revolutionaries, Azad is ritually remembered on his birthday and martyrdom day for his heroic and daredevil acts rather than the politics and ideology he stood for and represents. But masses lack the capacity for sacrifice.
  • The ideas of martyrdom and heroism for the nation did not resonate with the public. It was also the same time that Gandhi found a stronger foothold amongst the people.
  • In the next phase, Azad became encumbered by the Socialist ideology and was inspired by the Russian Revolution.
  • When “The Revolutionary” released on 1 January 1925, it included in its objectives the creation of a society where “exploitation of man by man” is not possible and called for nationalisation of railways, industries, shipping and mining, other than advocating for universal adult suffrage and the right to recall elected representatives.
  • HSRA’s ultimate objective was to create a society with no capitalist or caste-based exploitation.
    • Their goal was therefore to overturn the Indian society’s socio-economic structure. Yet, India today is more unequal than ever.
    • Oxfam’s report noted that the India’s richest 1 per cent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country’s population.
  • He was part of a revolutionary socialist movement that wanted to liberate India from external and internal oppressors.
    • He was against communal politics and critical of religion.
    • According to Manmath Nath Gupta, Azad sometimes sang these lines, “In independent India, the masses will have enough food to eat, clothes to wear and house to live in.”
    • That dream of his is yet to be fulfilled.
  • Although until 1990’s this was materialised in some form, today we see that India is moving towards its own brand of capitalism.

Contributions to Freedom Struggle

  • Azad actively participated in the Non-cooperation movement and was punished by the colonial government. Chandrashekhar Azad was sentenced to fifteen lashes. With each stroke of the whip the young Chandrasekhar shouted “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
  • He was disappointed when Mahatma Gandhi suspended the movement in 1922 and Azad joined the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) formed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Chatterji, Shachindra Nath Bakshi and Sachindra Nath Sanyal.
  • He quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the main strategists of the Hindustan Republican Association.
  • On August 9, 1925, acting under the banner of the Hindustan Republican Army he successfully mounted the organisation’s first major operation, the train raid at Kakori.
  • He rose into prominence after the 1925 Kakori Train robbery and the assassination of the assistant superintendent of police John Saunders in 1928.
  • On 27 February 1931, Azad was killed in a gun battle with two police officers at Allahabad’s Alfred Park (the park has since been renamed Chandrashekhar Azad Park in his honour).
  • After Azad and Bhagat Singh, most HSRA revolutionaries joined the Communist Party of India. Azad and his comrades’ sacrifices radicalised the anti-colonial struggle and spread socialist consciousness in North India.

Conclusion

The ideology professed by Azad about socialism and absolute equality may not have come to fruition. However, India as a welfare state must try to achieve substantive equality and remove barriers of development for the weaker sections. This is when Azad’s vision of free India will materialise into reality.

 

Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent).

2. Northeast has the potential to become India’s growth engine. Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu  , necouncil.gov.in

Why this question:

The northeast has the potential to become India’s growth engine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, noting that peace is now being established in the entire region.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the potential of North East Indian region to be India’s growth potential as most of the resources are still left untapped and unexplored.

Directive word:

analyze – When asked to analyze, 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

Start with an introduction about the North East region.

India’s North Eastern Region is a ‘rainbow country …extraordinarily diverse and colourful, mysterious when seen through parted clouds’. It stretches from the foothills of the Himalayas in the eastern range and is surrounded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal and Myanmar. It includes the seven sisters – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, along with a small and beautiful cousin in the Himalayan fringes, namely, Sikkim.

Body:

Discuss about the natural resources of the region and the potential for growth.

  • Richly endowed with natural resources, the region is identified as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots; it hosts species-rich tropical rain forests and supports diverse flora and fauna and several crop species.
  • reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the region constitute a fifth of the country’s total potential.
  • The region is covered by the mighty Brahmaputra-Barak river systems and their tributaries providing great opportunity for hydroelectricity, irrigation etc.

Discuss the challenges that are currently being faced.

  • For instance, floods in Brahmaputra basin, challenges of connectivity, poor infrastructure etc.

Give an account of the steps already taken in this regard.

Discuss about the feasible solutions that can be pursued.

Conclusion

Conclude with a balanced way forward.

Introduction

India’s North Eastern Region is a rainbow country, known for its diversity. It stretches from the foothills of the Himalayas in the eastern range and is surrounded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal and Myanmar.

The region is rich in natural resources, covered with dense forests, has the highest rainfall in the country, with large and small river systems nesting the land and is a treasure house of flora and fauna. Marked by diversity in customs, cultures, traditions and languages, it is home to multifarious social, ethnic and linguistic groups.

Body

Issues hindering the growth of Northeast India

  • Poor infrastructure and governance are combined with low productivity and market access.
  • Inability of governments to control floods and river bank erosion causes unmitigated damage to properties and lives of millions of people every year in the region.
  • If the quest for ethnic and cultural identities has sowed the seeds, frustration and dissatisfaction from seclusion, backwardness, remoteness and problems of governance have provided fertile ground for breeding armed insurgencies.
  • There is overwhelming dependence for resources on the Central Government, public investment in the region has sub-optimal productivity due to weak of forward and backward linkages.

Potential to become a growth engine

  • Economic Potential
    • Nodal agency for development: The North-Eastern Council (NEC) is a nodal agency for economic and social development of the north-east. Its key members include governors and chief ministers of these eight states.
    • Aviation sector: The NEC is funding upgradation of infrastructure in 12 operational airports. The Pakyong Airport in Sikkim is the first greenfield airport in Northeast India. It is situated around 30 kilometres from Gangtok.
    • Road and infrastructure: The NEC is focusing on building roads spanning 10,500 kilometers, which will include inter-state and roads of economic importance.
      • Despite being the largest state in the country, Arunachal Pradesh has the least road density.
      • The Union Ministry of Road and Transport is planning to expedite the Trans-Arunachal Highway project.
      • An express highway project along the Brahmaputra River, spanning 1,300 km, will come up and that is expected to resolve connectivity issues in Assam.
    • Bamboo sector: The National Bamboo Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of the bamboo sector by adopting the area-based, regionally differentiated strategy. It aims to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
    • MSME’s: In order to promote employment in the North East States, Government is incentivizing primarily the MSME Sector through North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS).
    • Multimodal project and trade: The Kaladan project connects Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border.
      • It is expected to open up sea routes and promote economic development in the North-eastern states, and also add value to the economic, commercial and strategic ties between India and Myanmar.
      • This project will reduce distance from Kolkata to Sittwe by approximately 1328 km and will reduce the need to transport good through the narrow Siliguri corridor, also known as Chicken’s Neck.
    • Political development
      • 6th schedule status: In January 2019, Cabinet approved amendment to Article 280 and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to increase autonomy, financial resources and powers of the autonomous district councils in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
      • Bodo peace accord: The 3rd Bodo Peace Accord as tripartite agreement between the Centre, Assam Government and the banned Assam-based insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) was signed on 27th January 2020, for bringing a lasting peace in Bodo-dominated areas in Assam.
      • Bru refugee settlement: Around 34,000 Internally Displaced Brus will be settled in Tripura and would be given aid from the Centre to help with their rehabilitation and all-round development, through a package of around Rs 600 crores.

Way Forward

  • Empowerment of the people by maximizing self-governance and participatory development through grass-roots planning. Such planning will help to evolve development strategy based on the resources, needs and aspirations of the people.
  • Rural development with a focus on improving agricultural productivity and the creation of non-farm avocations and employment.
  • Development of sectors with comparative advantage agro-processing industries, modernization and development of sericulture, investment in manufacturing units based on the resources available in the region, harnessing the large hydroelectric power generation potential and focus on developing services such as tourism that will help to accelerate development and create productive employment opportunities.
  • Capacity development will have to address the issue of imparting skills among the people to enhance their productivity, generating a class of entrepreneurs within the region willing to take risks.
  • Augmenting infrastructure, including rail, road, inland water and air transportation to facilitate a two-way movement of people and goods within the region and outside, communication networks including broadband and wireless connectivity, and harnessing of the vast power generation potential, all of which will open up markets for produce from the region, attract private investment, create greater employment opportunities and expand choices for people of the region.
  • Making the Look East and Act East Policy meaningful for the region by connecting it with Southeast Asian markets. Connectivity of NER with ASEAN would require opening up the sea route through the Chittagong port and the land routes through Myanmar and China.
  • In addition, opening up the land route through Bangladesh could enormously benefit both countries and diplomatic efforts should focus on improving relations with the neighbours.
  • Ensuring adequate flow of resources for public investments in infrastructure, implementing a framework for private participation in augmenting infrastructure and creating an enabling environment for the flow of investments to harness the physical resources of the region for the welfare of the people.

Conclusion

The road from the current anarchic situation to progress and prosperity is long and arduous, but it has to be trekked. This is a necessity, an imperative, for peace and prosperity in the region not only determines the future of 39 million people of the region but also the unity and integrity of the country

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic can contribute to food shocks leading to malnourishment, the next big public emergency in India. Examine and also discuss the significance of food fortification to tackle the issue of Malnourishment. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why the question:

The nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic can contribute to such food shocks and, in turn, increase the chances of malnutrition, said the study published in journal Global Health Science July, 2020. The study is based on possible weight loss due to the immediate food shock children may face because of the pandemic.

Demand of the question:

The question is about discussing the issue of Malnourishment, its prevalence in India and in what way it has become a public health emergency. One must emphasise on how fortification of food is a way forward to tackle the menace.

Directive word:

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.

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 with brief introduction of the current scenario in the country.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

How pandemic leads to food shocks which in turn could lead to malnutrition?

Highlight how Malnutrition affects Indian population

Why would it become a public health emergency?

Discuss why other missions to tackle malnutrition haven’t been able to succeed fully – National Food Security Act (NFSA), a free Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM), National nutrition mission etc.

Discuss what is Food fortification and its importance and relevance to Indian case.

Conclude by listing governments efforts in this direction.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic can contribute to such food shocks and, in turn, increase the chances of malnutrition, said the study published in journal Global Health Science July, 2020. The study is based on possible weight loss due to the immediate food shock children may face because of the pandemic.

Body

Malnutrition in India

  • India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the worlde. around 195 million.
  • Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
  • 9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
  • Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Pandemic and malnourishment

The situation could also lead to massive disruptions in continuity of food availability and livelihood.

UNICEF warned  in its report that a staggering, 1.2 million additional children under five could die in just six months in low and middle-income countries due to reduction in routine health services coverage and increased in child wasting.

  • Malnutrition is still one of India’s biggest challenges and is the predominant risk factor for death in children younger than five years in every state in 2017, accounting for 68.2% of the total under-5 deaths, according to the Global Nutrition Report, 2020, released on 12 May.
  • The rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the measures adopted to contain its spread have put many families at risk by impacting their food supply, livelihoods and household incomes and their ability to access critical services for health and nutrition, early childhood care, education and social protection globally and in India.
  • This is especially true for the migrants and poor urban populations as well as many rural poor and other disadvantaged populations in India.
  • The mid-day meal program, which served as the primary source of supplementary nutrition for millions of school-going children in India suffered, had to be put on hold as schools were closed and states have imposed restrictions on the congregation of more than five persons.
  • The secondary impacts of the COVID-19 crisis are aggravating the challenges faced by many families, especially in terms of access to affordable and nutritious food. This could reverse some of the recent gains in reducing malnutrition.
  • Overall, severe disruption of these programmes serving hot cooked food under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) at the village level and in urban slums is bound to worsen both the incidence and magnitude of the acute under-nutrition among children and women in the country.

Food Fortification

Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing. India’s National Nutritional strategy, 2017, had listed food fortification as one of the interventions to address anaemia, vitamin A and iodine deficiencies apart from supplementation and dietary diversification.

Significance of food fortification to tackle malnourishment

  • Over 70 percent of India’s population still consumes less than 50 percent of RDA for micro-nutrients.
  • One third of about two billion people who are suffering from vitamin and micro-nutrient deficiencies globally, are in India.
  • Prevalence of malnutrition: Malnutrition is a prominent issue in India — 38 per cent of children under five years are stunted i.e. too short for their age, 36 per cent are underweight and 21 per cent are wasted i.e. too thin for their height, which is a sign of acute under-nutrition. 59 per cent women and 53 per cent children are anaemic.
  • Reduces the risk of death from infectious diseases.
  • Standards-based fortification can help advance overall health goals, starting with maternal health.
  • Fortified foods can help fill the gaps, in need of speedy remedial nutrition. It prevents and eliminates the nutritional deficiencies.

These measures when scaled up on pan-India level can help alleviate the current distress due to the pandemic and raise the general nutrition level in the country.

Conclusion

Malnutrition is not a condition which will wait for the virus to end its game. It will worsen the woes of children and women unnerved by the invisible virus and threaten their survival. Time to save the lives of millions of children, trapped in a vicious circle of poverty and malnutrition complicated further by the COVID-19 challenge, is running out.

 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

4. India should pursue its largely successful policy of maintaining positive relations with Iran and guard against hasty conclusions while monitoring the ties between China and Iran. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express  , idsa.in

Why this question:

Reports that Iran and China are close to concluding a 25-year strategic partnership — which may involve a trade and investment partnership totalling a massive $400 billion — have generated considerable angst in India. This is being linked to reports that Iran has decided to undertake the construction of the Chahbahar-Zahedan railway line to the border with Afghanistan on its own because India continues to delay its implementation of the project.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the healthy relations that has existed between India and Iran in the past. Despite the USA sanctions, India continued the oil trade with Iran in past. In the recent days, there have been a few hiccups w.r.t to the Chahbahar port railway line being awarded to China. India must not act in haste but in the meantime we must also be wary of the growing bonhomie between Iran and China.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyze, 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:

Start with brief introduction about India Iran ties and recent happenings of Chahbahar railway line project and alleged involvement of China.

Body:

Discuss in detail the ties that exists between India and Iran.

Discuss how China’s increasing closeness with Iran.

Now argue as to why India must not act in haste and take knee-jerk reactions.

Discuss how we should be watchful of the China-Iran ties.

Provide measures to strengthen the India-Iran ties.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Reports that Iran and China are close to concluding a 25-year strategic partnership — which may involve a trade and investment partnership totalling a massive $400 billion — have generated considerable angst in India. This is being linked to reports that Iran has decided to undertake the construction of the Chahbahar-Zahedan railway line to the border with Afghanistan on its own because India continues to delay its implementation of the project.

Body

India-Iran ties

  • India shares civilisational ties with Iran.
  • Their contemporary relations, however, have been especially relevant in India’s energy security. This is reflected in the trade between the two countries, where the balance tilts for Iran through its oil sales to India.
  • Between 2014 and 2018, the two countries signed a total of 21 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), many relating to the development of Chabahar.

What is the current issue?

  • The development of solo rail development by Iran comes at a time when Iran is seeking to finalise a 25-year economic and security partnership with China. The deal is worth $400 billion.
  • The deal between Iran and China — if finalised — could result in a vast expansion of Chinese presence in various sectors of Iran including banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and numerous other projects.
  • Considering that Iran has been an important strategic ally for New Delhi, the deal could hurt India’s prospects in the region, especially at a time when its relations with China have soured further in the aftermath of the recent border standoff.
  • China already has expanded its reach in the region through Gwadar Port. The plan is to overcome its Malacca Dilemma by connecting Gwadar Port to CPEC corridor all the way to Xinjiang.
  • Moreover, Iran is miffed with India, as it had to zero-down its oil trade with Iran. USA successfully arm-twisted India in stopping oil imports from Iran, even though India doesn’t recognize unilateral sanctions.

Significance of Iran for India

  • With Chahbahar, India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
  • It will also boost India’s access to Iran, the key gateway to the International North-South Transport Corridor that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
    • Having signed the International Transit and Transport corridor and Ashgabat agreement, port development and ultimately the rail line would help India increase its footprint in the region.
  • With Iran and India aligned on the same lines against Taliban; it will help India to manoeuvre the rough tides in case Taliban rule comes in Afghanistan. Iran is also a second front, in a potential conflict with Pakistan.
  • It also helps India counter Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port. Gwadar port is less than 400 km from Chabahar by road and 100 km by sea.
  • From a diplomatic perspective, Chabahar port could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated.

India’s balancing act

  • India needs to play a balancing act between the USA and Iran. India can ask for an oil import waiver from USA.
  • Further, India needs to closely watch the space created by its exit.
  • In a world where connectivity is seen as the new currency, India’s loss on account of these projects can become gain for some other country, like China.
  • As an emerging power, India cannot remain confined to South Asia and a peaceful extended neighbourhood (Iran-Afghanistan) is not only good for trade and energy security but also plays a vital role in India’s aspirations of becoming a superpower.
  • India can offer Iran to enhance its investments in the Chabahar Port development project as well as consider initiating other developmental and connectivity projects to strengthen linkages to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
    • This must be first revived through faster implementation and adhering to strict time-period for executing the projects. India must overcome the rhetoric of “India promises and China delivers”
  • This will ensure that India’s relationship remains favourable. And it can also strengthen India’s commitment towards strategic autonomy and will assert India’s role as a global power pursuing independent foreign policy.
  • Mediating Role: India has a very strong case to appeal for de-escalation between US-Iran as it had equity on both sides of the Gulf (with a trade of over $200 billion) and large diaspora in Iran. Hence, India should play a proactive role in mediation for long-term gains. However, India talked to both sides but is avoiding playing the role of a mediator.
  • The Indian side reaffirmed its support for full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council and is crucial contribution to the non- proliferation framework and international peace, stability and security.

Conclusion

New Delhi should aggressively promote the cause of the Chabahar port in Washington, and link the success of the port projects with that of Trump’s Afghanistan policies. Absent India in Chabahar, Iran may be tempted to link the port with China’s BRI, an outcome that is undesirable for the US and its nascent Indo-Pacific strategy. Geostrategic reality will ensure Iran’s continued importance. But the renewal of continued American hostility provides India an opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Indo-Iranian relations.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Evidences suggests that India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has been a huge success compared to the earlier loan recovery process. However, there have been a few misses too, in this light comment on how UKs insolvency reforms can show the way. (250 words)

Reference:  The Print 

Why this question:

Introducing certain provisions that form part of the UK’s new law on corporate insolvency can help save Indian companies that can still be rescued from going into the insolvency process.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the effectives of the IBC 2016 till now and the challenges it has been facing. Later, one must explain how the UK’s insolvency law, possibly, can help bring in reforms in the IBC, 2016.

Directive word:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion there upon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Give a brief about the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. And talk about the recent introduction of the UK’s insolvency law too.

Body:

Talk about the success of the IBC 2016 in the last 3 years.

Highlight the few misses and limitations of IBC, 2016.

Discuss in brief how the UK’s insolvency law can help in bringing in reforms in IBC, 2016.

Conclusion:

based on your discussion, provide a possible way forward.

Introduction

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals. The government has exempted all Covid-related debt from the definition of default under the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC) and suspended any fresh initiation of insolvency for up to a year.

Body

Success of IBC

  • The interest of all parties, lenders, borrowers and even operational creditors is now addressed under a unified law under the IBC.
  • RBI report says that gross NPA has come down from2% to 9.2% from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
  • The IBC has given more teeth to lenders and has changed the credit behaviour of borrowers. Now, there is a heartening trend of defaulters paying up dues before the case is admitted for insolvency under IBC.
  • IBC proposes a paradigm shift from the existing ‘Debtor in possession’ to a ‘Creditor In Control’ regime, as now the Board of Directors is suspended in case of default and and the IP manages the enterprise in the best interest of all its stakeholders.
  • IBC has made possible for struggling companies to ‘exit’ easily allowing creditors to take the company to the NCLT for winding up.
  • IBC has reduced crony capitalism, under and over invoicing, serial defaulters and lead to better allocation of capital by limiting the escape routes for defaulters and water tight frame for disposal of cases
  • The success of the act lies in the fact that many cases have been resolved even before it was referred to NCLT.
  • Statistics : Nearly, 4452 cases were dismissed at the pre-admission stage. Hence, it shows the effectiveness of IBC.
    • Presently, there are 1332 cases before NCLT. Realization by creditors around Rs 80,000cr in resolution cases.
    • Banks recovered Rs 5.28 lakh crore in 2017-18, compared to just Rs 38500 cr in 2016-17.The maximum amount recovered was Rs 4, 92,500 cr from 21 companies. 12 big cases are likely to be resolved this year, and the realization in these cases is expected to be around Rs 70000 Cr.

Challenges still remain

  • Slow judicial process in India allows the resolution processes to drag on, this was the same reason for slow recovery under SICA or RBBD.
  • Lack of capacity: There are inadequate benches to hear and resolve disputes quickly at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • These factors lead to the erosion of public money.
    • For example: If inflation is 4%, every year’s delay effectively reduces the recovery by the same proportion.
    • The time value of delays in the Essar case, assuming an inflation rate of 4%, and where the final bid is worth over ₹42,000 crore, is close to ₹5 crore a day.
  • Lack of operational NCLT benches: Though the government had, in July 2019, announced setting up of 25 additional single and division benches of NCLT at various places including Delhi, Jaipur, Kochi, Chandigarh, and Amravati, most of these remain non-operational or partly operational on account of lack of proper infrastructure or adequate support staff.
  • Low approval rate of resolution plans: According to the data from the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), of the 2,542 corporate insolvency cases filed between December 1, 2016 and September 30, 2019, about 156 have ended in approval of resolution plans — a mere 15%.

Features of UK Law that can be incorporated during pandemic

  • The CIGA or Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 has introduced important reforms to the UK insolvency law, including provisions such as a ‘free-standing’ moratorium and a new ‘restructuring plan’ regime, with ‘cross-class cram down’.
  • These may serve to inform reforms to the provisions for schemes of ‘compromise or arrangement’ under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Under the CIGA, companies can seek shelter under a ‘free-standing’ moratorium from creditor action.
  • Insolvency laws generally provide for a moratorium after the company enters into the (often irreversible) resolution process.
  • For instance, under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), a moratorium is ordered when the company is admitted into the corporate insolvency resolution process.
  • Under a ‘free-standing’ moratorium, the outcome, or the process to be followed for such outcome, is not predetermined.
  • The company may choose any viable option for its rescue or restructuring; in fact, it is not necessary to choose any formal process—it can even be rescued without a formal process.
  • The moratorium is overseen by an insolvency professional who acts as a ‘monitor’, but the directors remain in charge.
  • It is initially granted for a period of 20 business days, which may be extended for a further period of 20 business days if the directors make the necessary filings, and if in the monitor’s view, the rescue of the company is likely.

Way Forward

  • Reforms to the scheme provisions of the Companies Act will provide an enabling framework for Indian companies to resolve and restructure their debts and avoid the spate of insolvencies that may occur after the period for which the IBC is suspended comes to an end.
  • A free-standing moratorium will allow companies a ‘calm period’ to work out a resolution. Further, having introduced a modern cross-class cram down provision as part of our insolvency law in the IBC, lawmakers should not hesitate to make similar provisions in the scheme process.
  • Historically, schemes have been frustrated by persons who have no real economic value in the resolution.
  • The success of the IBC is owed in no small measure to the decision-making being confined to the financial creditors as a single class.
  • It is time to replicate the successful features of the IBC in the Companies Act to create an alternative resolution mechanism that is equally effective.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6. What do you understand by “Reverse Osmosis” Technology? Critically discuss the indiscriminate use of RO technology from the environmental point of view. (250 words).

Reference: Business Standard 

Why this question:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set the year-end as the deadline for the environment ministry to bar the use of reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers in places where the available water conforms to the prescribed quality norm of dissolved solids content of below 500 mg per litre. The move aims chiefly at preventing the wastage of water and several useful minerals and essential salts that are lost during RO treatment.

Key demand of the question:

This is a straightforward question where one must discuss in detail the concept of reverse osmosis technology. Discuss its usages and why the RO technology is being used in such large scales. One must also argue how the RO technology has been affecting the environment.

Directive:

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining the concept of Reverse Osmosis and the NGT judgement.

Body:

Discuss the usages of Reverse Osmosis.

Why there has been an increase in the usage of RO technology.

Now argue about how the RO Tech has been impacting the environment.

Provide alternative measures, if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set the year-end as the deadline for the environment ministry to bar the use of reverse osmosis (RO) water purifiers in places where the available water conforms to the prescribed quality norm of dissolved solids content of below 500 mg per litre.

The move aims chiefly at preventing the wastage of water and several useful minerals and essential salts that are lost during RO treatment.

Body

Reverse Osmosis: Meaning

ro

ro_membrane

Concept: Reverse Osmosis filtration system works by forcing water through a special fine membrane to eliminate impurities that may not be visible to the naked eye. These membranes remove impurities based on their size and shape.This means that particles larger than water molecules cannot pass through the filter. The membrane blocks harmful chemicals and contaminants such as pesticides, viruses, microorganisms, ions, bacteria, amongst others. In fact, it can also remove chemicals dissolved in water, which other purification technologies cannot.

Process of RO

  • Reverse osmosis removes contaminants from unfiltered water, or feed water, when pressure forces it through a semipermeable membrane.
  • Water flows from the more concentrated side (more contaminants) of the RO membrane to the less concentrated side (fewer contaminants) to provide clean drinking water.
  • The fresh water produced is called the permeate. The concentrated water left over is called the waste or brine.
  • The RO membrane is the focal point of a reverse osmosis system, but an RO system also includes other types of filtration. RO systems are made up of 3, 4, or 5 stages of filtration.
  • Every reverse osmosis water system contains a sediment filter and a carbon filter in addition to the RO membrane. The filters are called either prefilters or postfilters depending on whether water passes through them before or after it passes through the membrane.
  • Each type of system contains one or more of the following filters:
    • Sediment filter: Reduces particles like dirt, dust, and rust
    • Carbon filter: Reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chlorine, and other contaminants that give water a bad taste or odor
    • Semi-permeable membrane: Removes up to 98% of total dissolved solids (TDS)

Benefits of RO technology

  • Harmful dissolved contaminants reduced.
  • Sodium reduced Bad tastes and odors reduced.
  • More environmentally friendly than bottled water.
  • Easy to install and maintain.

Does RO systems waste water?

  • RO technology is not applicable to all water types. It cannot, by design, discriminate between so-called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ chemicals.
  • This means an RO purifier will remove all minerals from the water irrespective of whether these are good (such as iron, calcium, potassium) or bad (fluoride, arsenic, chromium) for your health.
  • A reverse osmosis system sends water with rejected contaminants down the drain as wastewater, unlike other filters that trap contaminants.
  • As water flows through the system, it’s divided into two streams.
  • One stream carries the filtered water to a dedicated faucet, and the other stream carries the removed salts, dissolved pollutants, and minerals to the drain.
  • The brine or “wastewater” carries rejected contaminants from a reverse osmosis system to the drain.
  • 4 gallons of water exits the drain for every gallon of water produced. The wastewater in a RO system helps clean the water, just like a dishwasher uses water to clean dishes or a washing machine uses water to clean clothes.
  • However, it’s our job in caring for the environment to minimize the amount of water sent to the drain and increase the efficiency of the RO system.

Environmental wastage from Reverse Osmosis

  • As per studies by Water Quality Association, RO purifiers will reject 3-4 litres of brine for every 1 litre that is purified.
  • The ‘reject’ is a colossal waste of a precious resource although the industry claims otherwise: That the reject water can be used to wash utensils or to swab floors and even to water plants. We’d be wiser to take this claim about saline water with more than a pinch of salt. This saline water has been reported to inhibit plant growth.
  • Saline water leads to corrosion in metals. This reject water will eventually find its way into the ground, contaminating everything along the way: Sanitary ware, fixtures, pipes and drains will corrode over time.
  • Prolonged RO water purifier usage will mean we are only adding more and more chemical contaminants to the ground water which we will again put through RO water purifiers, and the cycle continues. In the long term, this will not only impact ground water with more TDS, but also soil and agriculture.
  • Add to this the fact that RO works only when there is a continuous supply of water at a consistent, predetermined pressure. This means, it can never be turned off and Ergo, there’s a constant outflow of reject water from RO water purifiers.

Conclusion

The opponents of RO systems say that RO purifiers and post-treatment technology is highly expensive for most people in the country. Further this reduces the incentive for public-funded water distribution systems to supply clean water to the vast majority of the country who can ill-afford such systems. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, the Prime Minister has committed to provide tap water to the entire country by 2024. It must be ensured that this water must be potable and well within the limits of the total dissolved salts.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7. “An unexamined life is not worth living”. – Socrates. What does the following quotations mean to you? Discuss the importance of self-realization? (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to explain the meaning of the quote and discuss the importance of self-realization for every individual.

Structure of the answer

Introduction-

Briefly talk about Socrates and his philosophy.

Body-

Highlight the importance of getting to know oneself by examining their strengths, weaknesses and how to overcome the same.

Discuss the importance of self-realization and what happens when one does that.

Conclusion–

based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. 

Introduction

Through this statement, Socrates means that an unexamined human life is deprived of the meaning and purpose of existence. To become fully human means to use our highly developed faculty of thought to raise our existence above that of mere beasts. For if we don’t think, we are no more than animals, simply eating, sleeping, working and procreating.

Body

Meaning

Socrates believed that philosophy – the love of wisdom – was the most important pursuit above all else. For some, he exemplifies more than anyone else in history the pursuit of wisdom through questioning and logical argument, by examining and by thinking. His ‘examination’ of life in this way spilled out into the lives of others, such that they began their own ‘examination’ of life.

Every individual makes choices in life. Be it education, career or companions; in every walk of like, we are faced with choices. The path we talk, the choice we make has a great impact on how our life pans out. It is in this context, that one needs to examine his ambitions, goals and seek knowledge which leads him towards a fulfilling choice.

For instance, if we choose engineering or medicine either because our parents want us to pursue it or because they lead to better paid employment, then we are wrong. We are simply following someone’s else choice for us. Rather than applying sound logic based on self-examination and self-realization of what we are passionate about. We need to weigh our skills and interests and then make the choice, rather than going with the herd.

Just like a seed needs soil, sunlight and water for its germination, human life needs introspection and examination for its growth. An understanding of the experiences gained in the life at any particular time, enriches one’s engagement with self and the universe.

The fast-changing societies and consumerist culture in the contemporary world leave less time for human beings to examine and think about the changes. Adaptation to changes have become automatic and unquestionable.

A look at the past and history tells us that the roots of racism or the trigger for world wars were a result of human greed and a feeling of supremacy. In hindsight, these historical events must become a source of guidance and inspiration to take the right path in contemporary times. Faced with a pandemic and an aggressive neighbour, India must learn from its past experiences to set the right course of precedent. Same is true in real life, where we learn from our experiences.

Conclusion

It is in these times that one needs to delve deeper into the conscience to find the purpose of existence and engage in a more meaningful manner with society. One must also examine the purpose of one’s life and why were we endowed with the capacities and abilities that we have; and how best to utilize them for the greater good.


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