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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 31 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. Tipu Sultan was the fearless “Tiger of Mysore”, a powerful bulwark against colonialism, and a great son of Karnataka. Comment on how should the historical figure of Tipu Sultan be assessed today. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

Last year, there was a controversy over the issue of lessons pertaining to Tipu Sultan. A committee had been set up by the department to study the possibility of dropping lessons on the Mysuru ruler, following a demand by a section of BJP leaders. The committee, however, had overruled this and said it was impossible to study history of Mysuru without highlighting Tipu’s role.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the contributions of Tipu Sultan towards India’s freedom struggle and its significance. Further one must also asses as to how should one see the historical figures in today’s times.

Directive:

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:

Begin with brief write up on Tipu Sultan and the current controversy of adding topics about Tipu in academic syllabus.

Body:

Explain in detail the contributions of Tipu Sultan in various fields during his short reign of 17 years.

Provide the significance of the same during the times.

Further one must discuss as to how the historical figures must be not be viewed through multi-layered personality through the prism of morality or religion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with how it is not necessary that historical figures be judged only in terms of either a hero or a tyrant.

Introduction:

Tipu was the son of Haider Ali, a professional soldier who climbed the ranks in the army of the Wodeyar king of Mysore, and ultimately took power in 1761. Recently, lesson units that deal with Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan were dropped for classes 6 and 7 in the reduced syllabi. This drew flak from different stakeholders. The reduced and revised syllabi, in view of the pandemic and reduced teaching hours, had been published on the Karnataka Textbook Society website.

Body:

The “removal” of Tipu from textbooks will fundamentally alter the history of early modern India, and make invisible one of the key individuals in the society and politics of South India in the second half of the 18th century, when the East India Company was rapidly expanding Britain’s colonial footprint over the country.

Contributions of Tipu Sultan:

  • He was born in 1750 and, as a 17-year-old, fought in the first Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69) and subsequently, against the Marathas and in the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84). Haider died while this war was on, and Tipu succeeded him in 1782.
  • In the wider national narrative, Tipu has so far been seen as a man of imagination and courage, a brilliant military strategist who, in a short reign of 17 years, mounted the most serious challenge the Company faced in India.
  • He fought Company forces four times during 1767-99, and gave Governors-General Cornwallis and Wellesley bloody noses before he was killed defending his capital Srirangapatnam in the Fourth Anglo Mysore War. With Tipu gone, Wellesley imposed the Subsidiary Alliance on the reinstated Wodeyar king, and Mysore became the Company’s client state.
  • Tipu reorganised his army along European lines, using new technology, including what is considered the first war rocket. He devised a land revenue system based on detailed surveys and classification, in which the tax was imposed directly on the peasant, and collected through salaried agents in cash, widening the state’s resource base.
  • He modernised agriculture, gave tax breaks for developing wasteland, built irrigation infrastructure and repaired old dams, and promoted agricultural manufacturing and sericulture. He built a navy to support trade, and commissioned a “state commercial corporation” to set up factories.
  • As Mysore traded in sandalwood, silk, spices, rice and sulphur, some 30 trading outposts were established across Tipu’s dominions and overseas
  • Tipu Sultan for long emblematised the valiant struggle of Mysore against the British and was the only one to die on the battlefield. All others were defeated by, collaborated or made their peace with, the emerging British power.

However, there are concerns raised against Tipu Sultan

  • On nearly every historical figure, perspectives differ. Haider and Tipu had strong territorial ambitions, and invaded and annexed territories outside Mysore. Haider annexed Malabar and Kozhikode, and bloodthirsty tyrant who burnt down entire towns and villages, razed hundreds of temples and churches, and forcibly converted Hindus. The historical record has Tipu boasting about having forced “infidels” to convert to Islam, and of having destroyed their places of worship.
  • The disagreement then, is between those who see the “Tiger of Mysore” as a bulwark against colonialism and a great son of Karnataka, and those who point to his destruction of temples and forced conversions of Hindus and Christians to accuse him of tyranny and fanaticism.

Assessment of Tipu Sultan as a historical figure today:

  • It is important to be aware that much of the criticism of Tipu is rooted in the accounts of those whom he vanquished — and of colonial historians who had powerful reasons to demonise him.
  • Tipu defeated the East India Company in wars, allied with the French to frustrate the attempts of the British to control the politics of the Deccan and Carnatic, and sought to challenge the vital trading interests of the Company.
  • Tipu’s keenness to subjugate Kodagu was linked directly to his desire to control the port of Mangaluru, on whose path Kodagu fell. Tipu battled nearly all powers in the region, irrespective of the faith of his opponents. His army had both Hindus and Muslims, and among the populations that he slaughtered in Kerala, there were sizeable numbers of Muslims.
  • It is likely that Tipu’s Islamic zeal had something to do with finding ideological ballast for his relentless warring.
  • To argue that Tipu was a “nationalist patriot” and “secular”, is misleading. Back in the 18th century, there was no “nationalism” or “secularism”. These are modern concepts that should not be read back in time.
  • But it is also misleading to argue that if Tipu fought the British, it was “only to save his kingdom” — because so did every other pre-modern ruler, in India and elsewhere.
  • Just as there is evidence that Tipu persecuted Hindus and Christians, there is also evidence that he patronised Hindu temples and priests, and gave them grants and gifts. He donated to temples at Nanjangud, Kanchi and Kalale, and patronised the Sringeri mutt.
  • When linguistic states were formed in the 1950s, many regions that read their historical past differently were merged under a common linguistic identity.
  • Kodagu, now part of Karnataka, has always seen Tipu as an invader, and the old Mysore state’s narrative of him as a moderniser would not be acceptable to Kodagu only because it is now the official state narrative.
  • It serves no purpose to view Tipu’s multilayered personality through the prism of morality or religion. It is not necessary that he be judged only in terms of either a hero or a tyrant.

Conclusion:

Placing a personality in binary terms, i.e. extreme good or bad is neither rational nor progressive. Historical perspectives should be critically analysed only to study from the past so as to live in a better present and build a better tomorrow. Attempts to see such narratives in political, communal or religious lines to create divisions in society should be vehemently opposed. It is improper to judge figures of the past by canons of the present. History should be used to teach people about tolerance and brotherhood rather than dividing based on communal lines.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

2. Accountability is a sine qua non – an essential condition – to good democratic governance. However, the appointment of a CAG has always been treated in utmost secrecy since Independence. Critically Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: The Wire

Why this question:

The question is based on the appointment procedure of CAG which has always been treated in utmost secrecy since Independence which goes against the accountability needed in a democratic setup.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way CAG is instrumental in securing accountability of the executive to the Parliament in the sphere of financial administration. And discuss the provisions associated with it in the constitution. Also one must discuss about the flaws in the process of appointment of CAG which is currently happening. Provide solutions using the cases in other countries.

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 judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the composition of CAG and its origin.

Body:

Highlight the importance of CAG as an institution in ensuring financial accountability in India.

Discuss about the procedure of appointment of CAG in India.

Talk about the conflict of interest that arises in current appointment procedure and the possible implications of the same.

Provide measures to correct the procedure using examples of the other countries.

Conclusion:

Reassert the significance of CAG in the Indian constitutional setup.

Introduction:

The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in chapter V under Part V. The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151. He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department. He is the guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels- the centre and state. His duty is to uphold the Constitution of India and the laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration

Body:

The CAG of India is an independent constitutional authority who is neither part of the legislature nor executive, though appointed by the President under his hand and seal and can be removed only through a motion of impeachment. Dr B.R. Ambedkar described the CAG as the most important functionary under the constitution. The CAG is the Supreme Audit Institution or SAI of India.

Appointment and Term of CAG:

  • The CAG is appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal.
  • The CAG, before taking over his office, makes and subscribes before the president an oath or affirmation: to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India; to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India; to duly and faithfully and to the best of his ability, knowledge and judgement perform the duties of his office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will; and to uphold the Constitution and the laws.
  • He holds office for a period of six years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • The present CAG of India will be demitting office on August 8, 2020.
  • Somehow, appointment of a CAG has always been treated in utmost secrecy since Independence.

Challenges in appointment of CAG:

  • The constitution of India protects the independence of the CAG. However, there is no laid down criteria for selection of the CAG.
  • Independence can be ensured if there is a well laid out criteria for this. Such criteria would include required qualifications which an individual should possess to be appointed as CAG and also a procedure through which selection should be made. The procedure must be transparent.
  • The current practice adopted for the appointment of the CAG is that the Cabinet Secretary prepares a shortlist for the finance minister who then submits it before the prime minister.
  • The prime minister recommends one name from that list to the president. If the president approves the same, the appointment of the CAG is made by warrant under the hand and seal of the president.
  • Such a procedure is faulty as there is a conflict of interest.
  • The CAG is an auditor to the government of India, which is headed by the prime minister.
  • If the head of the auditee is to select an individual for auditing his organisation, there is a danger of some ‘pliable’ person becoming the CAG and it may dilute the accountability process.
  • It may never happen, but independence and objectivity in the selection process must not only be there but also appear to be there.
  • Our Constitution provides that the president acts on the aid and advice of the council of ministers. However, by inserting the words that the ‘CAG shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal’, the makers of the constitution probably wanted the appointment of the CAG to be made in an independent manner.
  • 217 provides for appointment of a High Court Judge by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India. No such consultation has been provided for the appointment of the CAG and the selection is a matter of choice by the Prime Minister alone.

Appointment of CAG in other countries:

  • Internationally, most countries have enacted laws putting in certain qualifications and also the process of appointment of the head of their SAI, so that he works independently and is not under the influence of the Executive, whose performance he is required to evaluate and provide audit opinion on achievement of the objectives.
  • The Exchequer and Audit Act of the United Kingdom, as amended in 1983 provides that the CAG will be jointly selected by the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts and thereafter ratified by the House of Commons.
  • In the USA, under Section 302 of the Budget and Accounting Act, 1921, and the subsequent amendment of the General Accounting Office Act, 1980, the Comptroller General of the United States is appointed by the President on the consent of the Senate. Further, under an amendment carried out through Section 104 of the General Accounting Office Act of 1980, a commission has to advise the President.
  • From these examples, it is clear that the Executive does not have exclusive discretion in the appointment of the head of the Supreme Audition Institution.

Way forward:

  • To bring about transparency and objectivity in the selection process of the CAG, an institutional mechanism needs to be put in place.
  • A list may be prepared of persons possessing such qualifications.
  • Thereafter, a high-level committee may examine the personalities and recommend to the president a panel of three names out of which one can be appointed.
  • This will be a step forward towards achieving the objective of selecting the most suitable candidate.

Conclusion:

CAG helps the parliament/state legislatures hold their respective governments accountable. He is one of the bulwarks of the democratic system of government in India. It is for these reasons Dr. B R Ambedkar said that the CAG shall be the most important Officer under the Constitution of India and his duties are far more important than the duties of even the judiciary.

 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. While the National Education Policy talks of social inequalities at length, its political and economic goals are diffused. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu Indian Express 

Why this question:

The National Education Policy 2020 announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development sets for itself the goal of transforming the system to meet the needs of 21st Century India. Nevertheless, it requires closer scrutiny, in terms of its implications for the marginalised, disciplinary spaces, autonomy, and constitutional values, among other things.

Key demand of the question:

One must critically analyse the features of the NEP and possible challenges that could arise during its implementation. One must also try and provide the solutions for the same.

Directive:

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

Briefly talk about the new NEP 2020 that was recently rolled out.

The NEP 2020 is the first omnibus policy after the one issued in 1986, and it has to contend with multiple crises in the system. The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialisation.

Body:

Now provide the highlights of the NEP 2020.

Discuss the possible challenges that could arise during the implementation.

  • In a federal system, any educational reform can be implemented only with support from the States, and the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans.
  • Where the policy fails to show rigour, however, is on universalisation of access, both in schools and higher education; the Right to Education needs specific measures to succeed.
  • Moreover, fee regulations exist in some States even now, but the regulatory process is unable to rein in profiteering in the form of unaccounted donations.
  • The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organisation is bound to be resented by States.
  • Similarly, a national body for aptitude tests would have to convince the States of its merits.

Provide the feasible solutions for the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

Introduction:

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development sets for itself the goal of transforming the system to meet the needs of 21st Century India. The NEP 2020 is the first omnibus policy after the one issued in 1986, and it has to contend with multiple crises in the system. The policy, inter alia, aims to eliminate problems of pedagogy, structural inequities, access asymmetries and rampant commercialisation.

Body:

Highlights of the NEP 2020:

  • In structural terms, the NEP’s measures to introduce early childhood education from age 3, offer school board examinations twice a year to help improve performance, move away from rote learning, raise mathematical skills for everyone, shift to a four-year undergraduate college degree system, and create a Higher Education Commission of India represent major changes.
  • The policy also says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction in schools until at least Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language.
  • Provision of an energy-filled breakfast, in addition to the nutritious mid-day meal, to help children achieve better learning outcomes, is one.
  • Creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education is another.

Diffused political and economic goals:

  • There is also an emphasis on vocational training, but to make it effective, there has to be close coordination between the education and skills ministry.
  • In the higher education segment, NEP aims to improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. However, increasing GER drastically — almost adding the same number of seats that India has had in the last 70 years in the next 15 years — may lead to a focus on quantity rather than quality.
  • The new policy also talks about creating several regulatory bodies. This is a sound idea; but to make these institutions successful, it is imperative that they are built better, and staffed with people who have the vision to implement the policy mandate.
  • While NEP aims to increase public investment in education from the current 4.3% to 6% of GDP, there is no time-frame given.
  • Only increasing the investment, however, will not be a panacea; to improve the quality of education, there has to be realistic budgeting, flexibility in the tweaking of priorities when required; strong leadership; and a singular focus on outcomes.
  • The idea of a National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organisation is bound to be resented by States.
  • Similarly, a national body for aptitude tests would have to convince the States of its merits.

Way Forward:

  • Education is a concurrent list subject. Apart from a consensus between the centre and the states, all the other stakeholders including institutions, public and academicians should also be consulted.
  • Natal and prenatal studies should also be included in the country’s education system to ensure awareness about the issues related to mother and infants, considering the high MMR and IMR in the country.
  • There should be a course of Masters of Teacher Education.
  • Also, there is a need to build good teacher training institutions.
  • The education policy should maintain a symbiotic relationship between the different regions of the country through the study of different languages.
  • The quality of education provided in the country shall be such that it not only delivers basic literacy and numeracy but also creates an analytical environment in the country.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. India is rightly acclaimed to be the “pharmacy of the world”, with its huge private sector capacity for producing branded and unbranded generic drugs. However, India has seen the decline and near disappearance of public sector capacity for manufacture of drugs and vaccines. Why is healthy and robust public sector drug manufacturing important for India especially during the current pandemic? How can India boost this sector? Examine. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu Indian Express 

Why this question?

Anthony Fauci, top infectious disease specialist and senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump on COVID-19, recently said that India would play a critical role in supplying the world with a COVID-19 vaccine. However, most of the manufacturing capability is with the private industries vis-à-vis the public sector.  

Key demand of the question:

Write importance of India’s drug manufacturing capability and how the entire world is looking forward to India for vaccine manufacturing in the wake of COVID pandemic. One must discuss how the private drug companies holds majority (around 70%) of manufacturing capabilities. One must analyse the

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.   

Structure of Answer:

Introduction-

write in 2-3 lines about India’s drug manufacturing capabilities

As the “world’s leading manufacturer of vaccines”, India’s private sector has a “very important role” in the global battle against Covid-19.

Body-

Discuss how the private manufacturing companies in India are the major players and the possible implications of this especially during the pandemic and equitable access of the vaccines.

Talk about the importance of reviving the public sector drug companies. Categorise into points such as Universal Healthcare, Affordability, etc.

Now talk about how government should revive these.

Conclusion-

Talk about the uncertainty that exists in private sector and how public sector can be a saviour if a possible situation of drug scarcity were to arise.

Introduction:

India has been an active player in the pharmaceutical industry and has contributed globally towards making life saving drugs and low cost pharmaceutical products accessible and affordable for those in need. As the “world’s leading manufacturer of vaccines”, India’s private sector has a “very important role” in the global battle against Covid-19 said one of the world’s leading experts on infectious diseases.

Body:

Despite, advances Indian biopharmaceutical industry is still 10-15 years behind their counterparts in the developed countries and faces stiff competition from China, Korea and others. The lacuna primarily exists due to disconnected centers of excellence, less focus on translational research and staggered funding.

Need for healthy and robust public sector drug manufacturing:

  • To ensure that Indian population is not denied access to drugs that the Indian private sector is unable to produce or supply at affordable cost.
  • To curb the rising “vaccine nationalism” that has been engulfing the nations today that could affect the equitable, affordable and universal access of the vaccines.
  • These include drugs where compulsory licences may need to be issued by the government for patent protected drugs or even off-patent drugs which are commercially unattractive to private manufacturers.
  • With the acquisition of Indian drug companies by foreign manufacturers, or ‘strategic alliances’ which place shackles on the Indian partners, public sector capacity for manufacturing lifesaving drugs under a CL is the much needed fall-back option.
  • Drugs for neglected tropical diseases are of little interest to the commercially driven private drug industry.
  • Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which are needed for drug manufacture (formulation), are now mostly imported from China. This makes India highly vulnerable to disruptions in supply and cost escalations in import.

Measures needed to boost the Indian public pharma sector:

  • India needs to develop both public and private sector capacity within the country, with suitable government support and incentives, to ensure uninterrupted and inexpensive availability of APIs.
  • The High Level Expert Group Report on Universal Health Coverage for India (2011) clearly articulated the need for strengthening public sector units (PSUs).
  • The use of PSUs will offer an opportunity to produce drug volumes for use in primary and secondary care facilities as well as help in ‘benchmarking’ drug costs.
  • Effective implementation of the Ayushman Bharat initiative calls for investment in expanding public sector capacity for producing essential drugs and APIs.
  • The UN report also urges member states of WTO to adopt a permanent revision of Paragraph 6 of the TRIPS agreement to enable swift and expeditious export of pharmaceutical products produced under compulsory license. India should take the lead in ensuring universal access to affordable drugs through such measures.
  • National Biopharma mission needs effective implementation.
  • Innovate in India(i3) will witness an investment of USD 250 million with USD 125 million as a loan from world Bank and is anticipated to be a game changer for the Indian Biopharmaceutical industry. It aspires to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the sector.

Conclusion:

Investment in public sector capacity is essential to ensure that the country can exercise that leadership even on occasions when the private pharmaceutical sector does not fully align with that objective. There was an immediate need felt to focus on consolidated efforts to promote product discovery, translational research and early stage manufacturing in the country to ensure inclusive innovation.

 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

5. India’s partnership with Bangladesh stands out as a role model in the region for good neighbourly relations and very few countries in the world share such close fraternal ties. Discuss the present areas of co-operation along with the associated concerns. Also explain where should the future focus lie? (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times The Hindu 

Why this question:

India recently handed over 10 railway locomotives to Bangladesh at a virtual ceremony. The external affairs minister said India’s concessional lines of credit of close to USD 10 billion to Bangladesh are the largest it has extended to any country.

Key demand of the question:

The question demands elaboration on India-Bangladesh ties in detail from past to present.

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:

In brief explain the background of the question, the present context of relations between the two countries.

Body:

Explain in detail the ties across different domains like – Sharing of River Waters, Bilateral Trade, Institutional Mechanisms, India’s Economic Assistance to Bangladesh, areas of conflicts.

Discuss the areas of concern between the two – border issues, refugees, NRC of Assam etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what the two countries should focus in terms of future engagements and that Bangladesh and India are crucial landmark in the determination of the geographic and political contours of South Asia.

Introduction:

India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. India and Bangladesh today enjoy one of the best periods of their relationship, with positive development in the areas of diplomatic, political, economic and security relations. India played the great role in emergence of independent Bangladesh and was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as separate state.

The historic land boundary agreement signed in 2015 opened a new era in the relations. Both the countries are the common members of SAARC, BIMSTEC, IORA and the Commonwealth. India has always stood by Bangladesh in its hour of need with aid and economic assistance to help it cope with natural disasters and floods.

Body:

Bilateral relations:

  • India and Bangladesh today enjoy one of the best periods of their relationship, with positive development in the areas of diplomatic, political, economic and security relations.
  • Bilateral trade was a little over $9 billion in FY 2017-18 and Bangladeshi exports increased by 42.91%, reaching $1.25 billion in FY 2018-2019.
  • The India-Bangladesh border is one of India’s most secured.
  • By signing of the Land Boundary Agreement in 2015, the two neighbours amicably resolved a long-outstanding issue.
  • In 2018, in addition to the 660 MW of power imported by Bangladesh, Indian export of electricity increased by another 500 MW.
  • Train services on the Dhaka-Kolkata and Kolkata-Khulna are doing well, while a third, on the Agartala-Akhaura route, is under construction.
  • Today, Bangladesh contributes 50% of India’s health tourism revenue.
  • India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours. The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015
  • Relations between the two border guarding forces are at their best right now.
  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems.
  • India and Bangladesh share the historical legacy of cooperation and support during the Liberation War of 1971.Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries.

Concerns:

  • Teesta waters issue remains a big problem due to continuous protest by the West Bengal government.
  • National Register of Citizens has left out 1.9 million people in Assam and they are being labelled as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • But Bangladesh is firm in its stance that no migrants travelled to Assam illegally during the 1971 war of independence and NRC may risk the relations.
  • The Rohingya issue and India’s remarks in 2017 on the issue have been upsetting for Bangladesh which has been facing the challenge of providing shelter to more than a million Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution
  • Bangladesh is overwhelmingly dependent on China for military hardware. China’s economic footprint is growing.
  • Since 2010, India approved three Lines of Credit to Bangladesh of $7.362 billion to finance development projects. But, because of bureaucratic red tapism, just $442 million have been disbursed until December 2018.
  • Though Bangladesh is slow in implementation, India’s requirement of the disbursement process to be approved by Exim Bank has not helped either.
  • Since the ban by India on cattle export, cattle trade has fallen from 23 lakh in 2013 to 75,000 till the end of May this year.

Way Forward:

  • India’s attempts to equate Bangladesh to fundamentally theocratic Muslim nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan is something that is unacceptable to Bangladeshis, where religious and racial harmony have always been a priority, unlike in many neighbouring countries so we not need to equate it with Pakistan.
  • Bangladesh-India relations have reached a stage of maturity. Bilateral ties can be expected to grow stronger in the future. It is for India to take the lead to remove these irritants.
  • There is scope for India-Bangladesh ties to move to the next level, based on cooperation, coordination and consolidation.
  • India’s continued partnership with Bangladesh benefits both countries.
  • New Delhi must keep up the partnership that allows for economic growth and improved developmental parameters for both countries.
  • It is important to address specific issues like Teesta and to respond to Dhaka’s call for help on the Rohingya issue.
  • The two countries share 54 transboundary rivers, and water management is the key to prosperity.
  • Effective border management for ensuring a tranquil, stable and crime free border.

Conclusion:

The shared colonial legacy, history and socio-cultural bonds demand that the political leadership of the two countries inject momentum into India-Bangladesh relations.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

6. As India celebrates its conservation success, policymakers and scientists will have to put their heads together to devise more creative solutions and find homes for the increasing number of tigers. Examine the need for a rethink of conservation policies in the wake of increasing man-tiger conflicts in India. (250 words).

Reference: Indian Express Indian Express 

Why this question:

The article provides for an assessment of rising man-animal conflict and on how development projects in tiger habitats and the fragmentation of migration corridors have called for a rethink of conservation policies.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must first appreciate how the dedicated conservation policies have helped double the Tiger population in the past decade, however the policies have missed to take into account the limited habitat for the increased population leading to man-animal conflicts. You must analyse the current conservation policies, what needs to be done to manage the situation in the best interest.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with quoting some facts justifying rising population of the wild cats due to directed conservation programmes in the country. Also highlight the recent examples of man-animal conflicts.

Body:

Discuss the following:

Causes of Man-Animal conflict: specific to Wild cats

Impact of Man-Animal Conflict

Case-Studies like Tiger-Human Conflict-,

Government Initiatives in this direction – Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change Guidelines on Man-Animal conflict, Best International Practice etc.

What changes are needed in the current conservation policies to overcome the problem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with Environmental justice and man -animal harmony as the need of the hour.

Introduction:

The 2006 tiger census by the National Tiger Conservation Authority had pegged the number of tigers at 1,411. In 2010, there were 1,706 tigers, and in 2014, the number jumped to 2,226. Recently, the Prime Minister released a summary report of the quadrennial census 2018, announcing a 33 per cent jump in India’s tiger number from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018. Aided by excellent conservation efforts, more awareness, and forest management and control over poaching, the overall tiger population in the country has gone up.

Body:

The rising tiger population is news to rejoice as the conservation efforts are being paid off well. However, there is an increase in the man-tiger conflicts as well. Man- tiger conflict is an existential crisis not only for the animals, but for human beings as well. According to data presented by then minister of state for environment, forest and climate change in the Lok Sabha in 2019, more than 100 people were killed by tigers between 2015 and 2018. Avni (T-1), the tigress that is said to have killed 13 villagers in and around Yavatmal district of Maharashtra

The causes of the man-tiger conflicts are:

  • Rising tiger population vis-à-vis the carrying capacity of Tiger reserves:
    • A rising tiger population is forcing the animal to seek out new hunting grounds, as tigers need a huge prey base.
    • A survey by the Union environment ministry reports that 17 of India’s 50 tiger reserves are approaching their peak carrying capacity.
    • In fact, nearly a third of the country’s tigers today live outside protected areas (PA).
  • Lack of prey base:
    • Primary reason for the increasing human-animal conflicts is the presence of a large number of animals and birds outside the notified protected areas. Wildlife experts estimate that 29 per cent of the tigers in India are outside the protected areas.
    • The itinerant animal is confronted with a shortage of prey — research shows that one tiger requires a prey base of 500 animals to survive.
    • The big cat is forced to shed its natural reticence towards humans and stalks farms and villages for livestock.
    • Example: Monkeys along with grey langurs have adapted to urban habitats over the years.
  • Unsustainable development:
    • Continued destruction and divergence of forest lands.
    • Tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries exist only as islets in a vast sea of human, cattle and unsustainable land use.
    • People are increasingly encroaching into the country’s traditional wild spaces and animal sanctuaries, where people compete with wildlife for food and other resources.
    • These conflicts have increased as elephants increasingly find their usual corridors blocked by highways, railway tracks and factories
    • Urbanisation and growth agendas alter landscape dynamics, which has a cascading effect on the ecological dynamics of wildlife. This results in ecological dislocation of sorts, wherein endangered wild animals like tigers either cause distress or land themselves in trouble.
  • Poor tiger reserve management:
    • There is no proper land use planning and management, cumulative impact assessments or wildlife management.
    • There is no buffer zone between wildlife and human settlements. The hamlets on the fringes of the jungle have expanded rapidly. Example: Sarati, which didn’t exist before 2003, has 1,057 voters, Vihirgaon has 719 voters, and Lone, another village where Avni claimed a human life, has 417 voters near Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra.
  • Developmental projects in vicinity or through the wildlife reserves:
    • The ‘four-laning’ of the national highway running through the Pench Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve, and the widening of the railway line in central India from narrow gauge to broad gauge, for the fragmentation of the habitat.
    • The large-scale projects that are coming up near the sanctuaries. Example: Forest Department officials have trans-located a village called Agarzari on the border of the Pench Tiger Reserve. But the resorts that cropped up there after changes in land use continue to operate. These use barbed wire and electrified fencing to keep animals at bay, leading to accidents.
  • Failure of government measures:
    • ‘Human-Tiger conflict mitigation’ said most of the measures are dysfunctional, haphazardly implemented and therefore not effective
    • Tigers are used to travelling long distances, most of which fall outside the protected areas.
    • Example: A tiger, fitted with a tracking collar, was found to have travelled 500 km in 72 days, starting from its habitat in the 138 sq. km Bor Tiger Reserve in Wardha district. It travelled through Amravati and Nagpur before getting electrocuted on a farm in Wardha.
    • Wildlife experts’ claim that territorial animals do not have enough space within reserves and their prey do not have enough fodder to thrive on. This is forcing the wild animals to move out and venture close to human habitation in search of food.
    • Example: The Pench Tiger Reserve has 30 tigers. While an adult tiger requires 25-40 sq km of forested area to enjoy sufficient quantity of prey, now there is one tiger for every 8-10 sq km, leading to spillage says Vinod Thakur, a Veterinary doctor and conservation activist.
    • There is no mapping of the tiger corridors, or any of the well-defined routes that the tigers may be using for migration and resettlement. Adding to the confusion is that there are many forest tracts that abut the roads.

Impacts of Man-Tiger conflicts:

  • Crop Damage.
  • Animal Deaths.
  • Loss of Human Life.
  • Injuries to People.
  • Injuries to Wildlife.
  • Livestock Depredation.

Government Initiatives to reduce the man-tiger conflicts are:

  • Awareness programmes to sensitize the people about the Do’s and Don’ts to minimize conflicts
  • Training programmes for forest staff and police to address the problems of human wildlife conflicts
  • Approach by wildlife protection act, 1972 is that the model of conservation enshrined in is premised on creating human-free zones for the protection of rare species based on the erroneous notion that local people are the prime drivers of wildlife decline. This approach has been successful in protecting certain species, not all species.
  • Providing technical and financial support for development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals.
  • Providing LPG to villagers: LPG should be provided to those villagers who frequently go to the forest areas specially wildlife habitats to fetch fuel wood for their chullahs so that they may stop penetrating into forest and stop inviting Man- Animal Conflicts.
  • Role of State governments:
    • Assistance to state government for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks
    • Supplementing the state government resources for payment of ex gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks
    • Encouraging state government for creation of a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.
    • Eco development activities in villages around protected areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the protected areas.
    • Supporting involvement of the research and academic institutions and leading voluntary organisations having expertise in managing human wildlife conflict situations.
    • To control poaching: Poaching of wild animals should be stopped so that the no of wild animals can stabilize at its carrying capacity which would reach equilibrium in the ecosystem and this equilibrium between the numbers of prey animals and predators in the forest ecosystem would be maintained.
  • Use of Technology:
    • Information technology like radio collars, GPS, satellite uplink facilities are used by research institutions to monitor the movement of wild animals
    • Centrally sponsored schemes of project tiger, project elephant and integrated development of wildlife habitats
    • Solar Fencing around agriculture fields: Agriculture fields situated near wildlife habitat/forest areas can be protected by stone fencing or solar fencing. For instance, Solar fencing has been tried with quite good effect in Wardha District of Maharashtra.

Way Forward:

  • Relocation to Alternate reserves:
    • Experts suggest that the problem of plenty can be solved by relocating some tigers from places whose carrying capacity is challenged to ones that have scope to host more animals.
    • The country’s conservation authorities could take a cue from last year’s census which had revealed scope for improvement in the Eastern Ghats’ reserves.
  • Forest corridors linking protected areas must be maintained where they exist.
  • Existing habitats have to be surveyed and improved to provide food for the elephants
  • Local communities need to be educated to have reduced stress levels in elephants during conflict mitigation, no fire, no firecracker and no mob crowds.
  • There is a need for a monitoring mechanism which will record and disperse information on such conflicts
  • Experts suggest the other way to reduce the man-animal conflict is to increase the population of wild ungulates, namely hares and the wild boars, both of which are prolific breeders, as a prey for wild carnivores. Separate big enclosures can be made in the jungles to breed them. The excess stock can be released in the jungles at regular intervals for the wild carnivores to prey upon.
  • The draft National Forest Policy will be an overarching policy for forest management. Also there is a proposal for National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission which will be launched soon.

Conclusion:

In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development.

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. “Shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.” – Sir George Adrian Cadbury. Comment in the context of civil services in India. (250 words)

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon. 

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of ethical decision-making and bring out why shelving hard decisions is the least ethical course.

Structure of the answer

Introduction–

write a few introductory lines about the civil services in India. E.g bring out the huge amount of stress and pressure faced by a public servant and mention the need to make decisions on a daily basis.

Body-

Discuss in points how decision making should be done and why shelving had decisions is the least ethical course.

Conclusion

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

Introduction:

Civil Services are the bedrock of public administration. Civil services have assumed more important role in democracy to ensure good governance, both in developing and developed countries. In the modern administrative state, public administration has become so significant that our development, upliftment and progress depend mainly upon the efficient functioning of public administration.

Body:

Decision-making has great importance for success of governance in democracy. Civil Servants have to take critical decisions at every stage. Decision-making pervades through all functions such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing and control.

A few considerations to keep in mind, as civil servant strives to make ethically sound decisions:

  • Keep in mind that what’s legal and what’s ethical aren’t always the same:
    • Usually the two go hand-in-hand. But there may be certain organizational decisions and actions that, while legally sound, are not fully ethical. Example: Consider the handling of customer data, and how actions could fall into one of the categories:
    • Ethical and legal: Keeping customer data confidential
    • Ethical, but not legal: Calling attention to the improper handling of customer data
    • Not ethical, but legal: Sharing disclosures according to legal requirements, but doing so in a way that customers don’t understand what they are agreeing to, as far as sharing data with other companies
    • Not ethical or legal: Providing customers’ information to other companies without their permission
  • Be aware that ethics exist on a spectrum:
    • There are not “good” ethics or “bad” ethics; rather, the concept of ethics exists along a continuum.
    • Your values are shaped by a lifetime of influences, including family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and personal and professional circumstances.
    • A colleague may have different values than you, shaped by different influences and experiences.
    • There are often compromises to make, and that’s where the concept of a spectrum comes into play. Indeed, there is never one single point on that spectrum that’s “good” for every possible situation. You really have to dig deep into possible implications and weigh the potential impacts — both short- and long-term.
    • In some instances, a certain decision may be the most ethical and, in others, that same decision may not be. The spectrum of ethics ranges from those decisions and actions that serve only you to those decisions and actions that serve everybody equally well. It’s awfully rare when the correct decision only serves yourself, and just as rare to find circumstances where everyone can be served equally well.
  • Strive to serve the greatest possible good:
    • In the world of ethics, we usually try to land in the realm of what’s called utilitarianism: the greatest good for the greatest number.
    • You start by looking at moral and situational considerations.
    • Your responsibility as a practitioner is to think through the implications and to help your fellow leaders decide what seems to be the most ethically sound path.
  • Know the code of ethics:
    • what defines an occupation as a profession is the very existence of professional standards and an ethical code of behavior.
    • Code of Ethics factors in both moral and situational considerations, addressing multiple categories of the tough situations that you may face and providing guidance for each.

Conclusion:

Decision making is a crucial task and backing off from a decision after it is taken is unethical as a lot of things will be at stake. Thus, any decision making must be ethical and certain with all the risks mitigated and its effects on the stakeholders involved.


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