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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 September 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 : Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1. “The peasant revolts and uprisings in 19th Century India against the colonial rule were not religious, but in most of the cases, religion did play very important role.” Discuss the nature of Peasant uprisings in 19th Century India with appropriate examples in the above context. (250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian History by Bipin Chandra

Why the question:

The question is themed on the concept of peasant revolts and uprisings in 19th Century India against the colonial rule.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the nature of Peasant uprisings in 19th Century India with appropriate examples in the above context.

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 the 19th century and early 20th century, there were hundreds of peasants and tribal movements, revolts or uprisings in India. Most of these revolts were suppressed by ruthless use of power by the British yet; they played a very significant role in the freedom struggle of the country.

Body:

Start by discussing the factors responsible for peasant revolts in the country in 19th century.

Highlight the non-religious factors, the occurrence of recurrent famines etc. then move onto explain how religion did play a key role; Religious Movements aimed for liberation of region or ethnic groups under new form of government or religious conflicts. During British era, the revolts belonging to this category include Kuka Revolt; Moplah Rebellion, etc. Explain these examples and justify.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the importance of such peasant uprisings in the freedom struggle of the country.

Introduction:

                Indian peasants have a long tradition of armed uprisings, reaching back at least to the initial British conquest and the last decades of Mughal governmsent. For more than 200 years peasants in all the major regions have risen repeatedly against landlords, revenue agents and other bureaucrats, money- lenders, police and military force etc.

Causes of peasant revolts:

  • The major cause of all these civil rebellions taken as a whole was the rapid changes the British introduced in the economy, administration and land revenue system. These changes led to the disruption of the agrarian society, causing prolonged and widespread suffering among its constituents.
  • Above all, the colonial policy of intensifying demands for land revenue and extracting as large an amount as possible produced a veritable upheaval in Indian villages. In Bengal, for example, in less than thirty years land revenue collection was raised to nearly double the amount collected under Mughals. The pattern was repeated in other parts of the country as British rule spread and aggravating the unhappiness of the farmers was the fact that not even a part of the enhanced revenue was spent on the development of agriculture or the welfare of the cultivators.
  • Thousands of zamindars and poligars lost control over their land and its revenue either due to the extinction of their rights by the colonial state or by the forced sale of their rights over the land because of their inability to meet the exorbitant land revenue demanded. The proud zamindars and poligars resented this loss even more when they were displaced by rank outsiders-government officials and the new men of money merchants and money lenders. Thus they, as also the old chiefs, who had lost their principalities, had personal scores to settle with the new rulers.
  • Peasants and artisans, as indicated earlier, had their own reasons to rise up in arms and side with the traditional elite. Increasing demands for land revenue were forcing large numbers of peasants into growing indebtedness or into selling their lands. The new landlords, bereft of any traditional paternalism towards their tenants, pushed up rents to ruinous heights and evicted them in case of non- payment. The economic decline of the peasantry was reflected in twelve major and numerous minor famines from 1770 to 1857.
  • The new courts and legal system gave a further fillip to the dispossessors of land and encouraged the rich to oppress the poor. Flogging, torture and jailing of the cultivators for arrears of rent or land revenue or interest on debt were quite common. The ordinary people were also hard hit by the prevalence of corruption at the lower levels of the police, judiciary and general administration. The petty officials enriched themselves freely at the cost of the poor. The police looted, oppressed and tortured the common people at will. William Edwards, a British official, wrote in 1859 that the police were ‘a scourge to the people’ and that ‘their oppression and exaction form one of the chief grounds of dissatisfaction with our governments.
  • The ruins of Indian handicraft industries, as a result of the imposition of free trade in India and levy of discriminatory tariffs against Indian goods in Britain, pauperized millions of artisans. The misery of the artisans was further compounded by the disappearance of their traditional patrons and buyers, the princes, chieftains and zamindars.
  • The scholarly and priestly were also active in inciting hatred and rebellion against foreign rule. The traditional rulers and ruling elite had financially supported scholars, religious preachers, priests, pundits and maulvis and men of arts and literature.

Religious Nature of peasant movements in 19th century:

  • Peasant rebels mobilized themselves in to bandit troops, engaged in insurrections under their own committees or local popular leaders, or else took part in movements for local liberation under charismatic religious leaders.
  • In this sense, a number of religion inspired peasant movements have arisen among Hindus, Muslims and tribal peoples in India in the 19th
  • The purposed of the religion was to mobilize, unite and inspire people and did not have any communal undertones. Such movements were collective as they looked forward to a reign of bliss on this earth; the transformation from the present evil age is to be total; it is imminent and it will come about by supernatural means.
  • All had divine or prophetic leaders who were believed to possess supernatural powers and looked forward to a terrestrial state of righteousness and justice in which their enemies would be removed or defeated. Most were transformative rather than reformative in their expectation of a sudden, total change, and most believed the Golden Age to be imminent and subject to some kind of supernatural intervention.
    • These movements included the early movement of Moplah tenants in the 1830s to 1850s led by the Mambram Tangal. The Muslim Moplah tenants, suffering from rack-renting, evictions and famine with the spread of cash crop farming and the disruption of their formerly stable tenancies,56 were taught by the Tangal that if they would give up cultivating, pray diligently, and organise for battle, a ship b)earing arms and modem equipment for 40,000 men would miraculously appear on the horizon and the British would be driven out of Malabar.
    • The Naikda tribal movement in Gujarat under the Hindu religious leader Joria Bhagat in 1867-70
    • The Munda tribal movement under Birsa in the 1890s,54 and the Bhil tribal movement under Govindgiri, a tribal convert to Hinduism, in 1900- 1912, following a severe famine in 1900. The Bhil groups of the Panch Mahals and the Naikdas, both of whom probably number fewer than 10,000, came to believe that their leader was himself an incarnation of the supreme deity (Parameswar or Siva among the Naikdas and Vishnu among the Bhils). Both groups thought that their divine leader could deliver them from British.

Overall Nature of peasant movements in 19th century:

  • Between 1765 and 1857 a large pro- portion of revolts were led by Hindu or Muslim petty rulers, former revenue agents under the Moghuls, tribal chiefs in hill regions and local landed military officers (poligars) in south India. They were supported by masses of peasants.
  • The revolts were either against the conquest itself and the imposition of heavy revenues on existing nobles, or retaliatory attempts to drive out the British after they had dispossessed a zamindar or a raja for failing to pay the revenues and had replaced him with some other claimant to the estate.
  • The peasants were not blind loyalists. Their own grievances were bitter, for in their efforts squeeze out the revenue the Comnpany’s officers often completely pauperised the peasants or had them starved, flogged or jailed.
    • Example: the famous Santhal tribal revolt of 1855-56, involving a peasant army of between 30 and 50 thousand.
  • Some struggles were that of legal resistance. There was very little violence but peasant used prayer, petitions, legal and constitutional methods.
    • Example: Tabna Agrarian Leagues of 1870’s and 1880’s
  • In some case, peasants used social boycott movement. It was organised by the ryots against the “outsider” like moneylenders, planters etc.
    • Example Deccan Riots

Conclusion:

Peasant movement is a very important part of social movements. Social movements happen because of the social exploitation of the lower sections of the society. Peasant movements in India happened because of many reasons like the exploitation by the colonial government, exploitation by landlords and zamindars and other elite sections of the society. Peasant movements have also the same nature and ideology which the social movements have. Peasant movements have also some concepts like collective mobilization, organization, leadership, ideology, nature etc.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Appointment to various Constitutional Posts, Powers, Functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

2. In several ways Finance commission in India is the lynchpin between Centre and States, do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference: News on Air 

Why the question:

Fifteenth Finance Commission had an online meeting with Advisory Council recently, thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the significance of Finance commission in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Finance Commission is a constitutionally mandated body that is at the centre of fiscal federalism.

Body:

Discuss the constitution, structure and functions of the Finance commission first.

Set up under Article 280 of the Constitution, its core responsibility is to evaluate the state of finances of the Union and State Governments, recommend the sharing of taxes between them, and lay down the principles determining the distribution of these taxes among States. For every 5 years Finance commission is constituted by President.

Discuss with examples in what way FC is the lynchpin between Centre and States.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction:

A finance commission is set up very five years by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution. Its main function is to recommend how the Union government should share taxes levied by it with the states. These recommendations cover a period of five years.

The commission also lays down rules by which the centre should provide grants-in-aid to states out of the Consolidated Fund of India. It is also required to suggest measures to augment the resources of states and ways to supplement the resources of panchayats and municipalities.

Finance commission as the lynchpin between Centre and States:

  • The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution were aware of the issues related to uneven development of the native states and historically poorer hinterlands since the colonial rule. The coastal states were comparatively richer than the scarcity-hit provinces of Central India.
  • This awareness of the Constitution framers made them understand the difficulty in rigidly dividing all financial resources and revenue among different regions and thus, an independent Finance Commission (FC) was created. Since 1951, Finance Commissions (FC) have been constituted keeping in mind the unique macro context and fiscal conditions existing in the constituent period. 
  • The Indian federal system allows for the division of power and responsibilities between the centre and states.  Correspondingly, the taxation powers are also broadly divided between the centre and states.
  • The centre collects majority of the tax revenue as it enjoys scale economies in the collection of certain taxes.  States have the responsibility of delivering public goodsin their areas due to their proximity to local issues and needs.
  • Sometimes, this leads to states incurring expenditures higher than the revenue generated by them.  Further, due to vast regional disparities some states are unable to raise adequate resources as compared to others.  To address these imbalances, the Finance Commission recommends the extent of central funds to be shared with states.
  • Any other matter referred to the Commission by the President of India in the interest of sound finance. Several issues like debt relief, financing of calamity relief of states, additional excise duties, have been referred to the Commission invoking this clause.
  • Federal Finance is in essence dynamic and not static and therefore, constant readjustment of federal states – local financial relations is called for this purpose in every federation there are “Balancing Factors” like shared taxes, grant in aid central loans to federating units, the devolution of which has important bearing on the economic development and balanced regional growth of a country. The FC seeks to balance the balancing factors.
  • The provision of the Finance Commission is intended to assure the states that the scheme of distribution shall not be made by the union arbitrarily or under pressure or bias but shall be based on the recommendation of the independent commission.
  • According to the noted economist D.T Lakdawala “The Finance Commission is expected to play a role of wise man, a judge between the conflicting claims of the states, on the one hand, and the centre on the other”

Issues with the fifteenth Finance commission: 

  • FC has considered the 2011 population along with forest cover, tax effort, area of the state, and “demographic performance” to arrive at the states’ share in the divisible pool of taxes.
  • In order to reward population control efforts by states, the Commission developed a criterion for demographic effort — which is essentially the ratio of the state’s population in 1971 to its fertility rate in 2011 — with a weight of 12.5%.
  • The total area of states, area under forest cover, and “income distance” were also used by the FC to arrive at the tax-sharing formula.

Important recommendations:

  • The Commission has reduced the vertical devolution — the share of tax revenues that the Centre shares with the states — from 42% to 41%.
  • The Commission has said that it intends to set up an expert group to initiate a non-lapsable fund for defence expenditure.

State- wise distribution:

  • Shares of the southern states, except Tamil Nadu, have fallen — with Karnataka losing the most.
  • Shares of states like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, along with Tamil Nadu, all of which have fertility rates below the replacement level, have increased slightly.
  • On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal’s shares have fallen, even though their fertility rates are also low.
  • Incidentally, Karnataka, the biggest loser in this exercise, also had the highest tax-GSDP ratio in 2017-18, as per an RBI report on state finances.

Criticisms:

  • The population parameter used by the Commission has been criticised by the governments of the southern states.
  • The previous FC used both the 1971 and the 2011 populations to calculate the states’ shares, giving greater weight to the 1971 population (17.5%) as compared to the 2011 population (10%).
  • The use of 2011 population figures has resulted in states with larger populations like UP and Bihar getting larger shares, while smaller states with lower fertility rates have lost out.
  • The combined population of the Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand is 47.8 crore.
  • This is over 39.48% of India’s total population, and is spread over 32.4% of the country’s area, as per the 2011 Census.
  • On the other hand, the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and undivided Andhra Pradesh are home to only 20.75% of the population living in 19.34% of the area, with a 13.89% share of the taxes.
  • This means that the terms decided by the Commission are loaded against the more progressive (and prosperous) southern states.

Conclusion:

                Despite the various issues surrounding the 15th finance commission, the successive FC’s has tried to be lynchpin between center-state relations and uphold the principle of fiscal federalism. Finance commission has been recommending financial resources to the states to achieve balanced development and to normalise the Centre State financial relations and remove the vertical and horizontal imbalances in the country.

 

Topic : GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

3. Low-carbon, inclusive growth (LCIG), as a strategy, has been the hallmark of India’s vision on clean environment. Explain in what way direct carbon tax needs to be replaced with coal cess to realize the same? (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The article presents to us the need of explicit carbon taxation in the country.  Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the idea of replacing direct carbon tax needs by a coal cess.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining briefly how low-carbon, inclusive growth (LCIG), as a strategy, has been the hallmark of India’s vision on clean environment.

Body:

Explain that this strategy is a multi-pronged one, which broadly includes the following policy instruments: regulations and standards, such as, building codes, bio-fuel standards and vehicle-efficiency standards; public funding for R&D; awareness and capacity building activities; and market-based instruments, which, in turn, include quantity instruments (emission trading schemes, such as Perform, Achieve and Trade, or PAT, and renewable energy certificates) and price instruments (removal of subsidies and imposition of a carbon tax on fossil fuels).

 Among these, it is the price instrument of carbon tax that remains the most potent market-based policy tool for inducing fuel-switching towards cleaner sources of energy. Yet, it has not found favour with policymakers in India because of its supposed detrimental effects on economic growth and income distribution.

Thus suggest what needs to be done, emphasize on the idea of having coal cess.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                Measures, which reduce emissions intensity, impact the economy in a variety of ways. Such mitigation efforts, however, do not come cheap. They require additional investment, which in turn reduces investment available for other needs. An assessment of economic costs and benefits is, therefore, important.

Energy efficient processes can increase the profitability of many value added activities, while also facilitating structural changes in the economy. This not only makes an economy more productive, but also sustains economic growth by relaxing the energy constraints in the long run. It is important to understand the macro-economic and inter-sectoral implications of different mitigation alternatives to ensure that the low carbon strategies being recommended are mutually consistent with each other.

A combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches is used to create the Low Carbon Growth Model. This macro-model is a multi-sectoral, dynamic optimization model that is bottom-up in the sense that it includes many available technology options, and top-down in the sense that it covers the whole macro-economy.

Body:

Low-carbon, inclusive growth (LCIG), as hallmark of India’s vision on clean environment:

                The Planning Commission set up an Expert Group, ahead of the Twelfth Five Year Plan, to advise and help evolve low carbon strategies for inclusive growth. In May 2011, the Expert Group submitted its The Expert Group also contributed to the sustainable development chapter of the Twelfth Five Year Plan. From then onwards the emphasis has been on Low carbon yet inclusive growth.

Various facets of India’s LCIG:

  • Policy measures to reduce emissions fall into two categories, namely: reducing energy requirement by promotion of energy efficiency, and by increasing the use of low carbon energy sources in the supply. The policy instruments are complements or substitutes. Very often, a lot of energy is spent in choosing mix. Policy instruments can essentially be classified into five categories: Energy Pricing, Carbon Tax, Cap & Trade, Subsidy and Regulation.
  • Energy pricing: is a critical policy instrument that promotes efficient use of energy and leads to selection of appropriate technology and energy mix. Government of India has imposed a coal cess at the rate of Rs. 50 per tonne of coal produced or imported in the country, which collects an amount of almost Rs. 3,000 crore every year.
  • Energy efficiency: has a transcendental role in any modern economy. Labelling and Star Rating has been found to be effective in promoting the use of more energy efficient appliances. Consumers seem to react rationally to energy saving.
  • Policy for Energy Efficient Buildings: The potential for energy saving in annual energy use for commercial buildings has been estimated to be around 30 percent. The ECBC has already been made mandatory for large commercial buildings in some states.
  • To promote energy efficiency in industries, a Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme has been introduced by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. The PAT scheme covers some 400 large designated consumers (DCs) in 9 sectors including power generation.
  • Accelerating towards renewable energy with a thrust towards JNNSM, International Solar Alliance, Emphasis on Wind Energy, Mini Hydel projects and Nuclear energy.

Coal Cess and Direct Carbon Tax: An Analysis

  • India imposed a cess on domestically produced and imported coal and set up the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund (NCEEF) back in 2010. The policy design was to earmark part of the revenues from the coal cess for the NCEEF that, in turn, funded research and innovative projects in clean energy.
  • The coal cess revenues were also used for other needs such as the rejuvenation of the Ganga. The coal cess is levied on the dispatch of coal and lignite by coal producers and discourages coal consumption by increasing its cost. For this reason, India’s INDC further specifies that “the coal cess translates into a carbon tax equivalent.
  • In July 2017, the Clean Energy Cess was abolished by the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, 2017. A new cess on coal production, called the GST Compensation Cess, was put in its place at the same rate of INR 400 per tonne.
  • Coal cess penalises the carbon emitted from coal, but spares that from other fossil fuels—e.g. oil and natural gas. Thus, an indirect carbon tax cannot induce efficient fuel-switching away from fossil fuels towards cleaner sources of energy.
  • Coal cess is not a progressive in ensuring distributing revenues uniformly to all household groups across-the-board or preferentially to the low income/consumption-expenditure.

Advantages of carbon tax over coal cess:

  • Impact on Revenue: Taxing fossil fuels is one of the larger contributors to exchequers globally and India is no exception. A report estimated that a carbon tax @ $ 35 per tonne of CO2 emissions levied by India in phases from 2017 to 2030 can yield more than 2% of GDP, thereby compensating the loss from taxing fossil fuels (Rs 5.5 lakh crore for FY20).
  • Impact on Innovation: Carbon taxes accelerate the development of innovative business models around clean energy like solar powered automobiles, solar drones, zero energy buildings, super grids, utility scale battery production etc. Multiple start-ups have already raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture investments.
  • Impact on investment: Given the scale and magnitude of change desired, the scale of investment needed is substantial. FDI inflow in the Indian non-conventional energy sector stood at US$ 9.22 billion between April 2000 and March 2020 (DPIIT). More than US$ 42 billion has been invested in India’s renewable energy sector since 2014 and India rank’s 3rd globally in the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractive Index 2019.
  • Impact on employment: Utility-scale renewables sector have already created 100,000 jobs (2020), and the current targets are likely to generate another 1.3 million direct jobs. This if harnessed with skilling and re-skilling of workforce can be panacea to unemployment problems caused of Covid-19.
  • Impact on health care infrastructure: India is also exploring the case for ensuring universal rural healthcare through a sustainable energy path: a CEEW study has shown that primary healthcare centres in Chhattisgarh with battery supported solar PV systems (costing just Rs 28/ person) have better outcomes, especially in maternal and neonatal cases, due to power supply for medical equipment and storage of drugs. Expanding the application across a fractured health care system can have far reaching benefits at affordable costs.
  • Impact on pollution: India losses a significant $150 bn pa owing to just air pollution (Green peace 2020). Studies by acclaimed institutions have established that the use of solar and wind energy reduce pollution levels by as much 80-97%. India’s total renewable capacity was around 35.7% (Sep 19) of the total installed generation capacity consequent to which CO2 emissions fell by around 1% in FY 20. India aims to have 275 GW (by 2027) from renewable/clean energy, and has pledged a 33-35% reduction in the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. This is expected to have far-reaching impact across sectors like health care, urbanisation, transportation, power etc.
  • Impact on India’s NDC’s: A carbon tax would definitely push India towards cleaner fuels and it will automatically ensure a step closer to India’s NDC’s as per Paris Accord of 2015.
  • Impact on social infrastructure: India has been imposing a form of carbon tax in case with coal cess. The government now aims to use this cess to clean the Ganga or build toilets. This can also help us achieve social objectives.

Conclusion:

Carbon tax is one of the potent options to nudge the adoption of green tech and, if used wisely, can generate significant results in a short span along with considerable long term dividends. A calibrated introduction of Carbon Tax with an effective market for ETS, would go a long way in making the transition financially viable and widen the participation of stakeholders ensuring low carbon inclusive growth whilst protecting our environment.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Enumerate the government policies and schemes to incentivize and promote domestic production in the automobile sector while explaining the significance of such a step at this point in economy. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Road Transport and Highways Minister speaking at the annual session of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) have asked domestic automobile component makers to develop products locally and reduce dependence on imports. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the idea of promoting domestic production in the auto sector of the country and highlight the policies floated out by the government in doing so.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the recent steps taken by the government in this direction; one can also quote some key data/facts depicting the ongoing concerns plaguing the auto-sector.

Body:

In the answer body you are expected to elaborate on the need to reduce dependence on imports in the automobile sector.

Discuss the key factors that reason for this idea; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the increasing tensions along the LAC between India and China threatens to disrupt the automobile supply chains, so to ensure risk safety. To boost Make in India program.

Highlight that the auto industry has been reviving faster than expected, mostly due to pent-up demand and people now preferring personal mobility over public transportation. This provides an avenue for economic revival in the midst of the current economic slowdown. Self-reliance in the sector would ensure its unimpeded growth. Etc.

Enumerate the efforts of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                In 2019, Automobile sales in India witnessed its sharpest decline in nearly 19 years, dropping 18.71 per cent, rendering almost 15,000 workers jobless over the past quarter as per data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The Indian automobile industry, the world’s fourth-largest, has finally embraced a slowdown after a near decade of high growth.

Body:

The Covid-19 pandemic has further compounded the crisis and hence the government has come with the following policy and schemes to address the issues:

  • The Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26 (AMP 2026):
    • AMP 2026 is the collective vision of Government of India (Government) and the Indian Automotive Industry on where the Vehicles, Auto-components, and Tractor industries should reach over the next ten years in terms of size, contribution to India’s development, global footprint, technological maturity, competitiveness, and institutional structure and capabilities.
    • AMP 2026 also seeks to define the trajectory of evolution of the automotive ecosystem in India including the glide path of specific regulations and policies that govern research, design, technology, testing, manufacturing, import/ export, sale, use, repair, and recycling of automotive vehicles, components and services.
    • AMP 2026 is a document that is aimed at multiple stakeholders in India and overseas, and seeks to communicate the Government and industry’s intent and objectives pertaining to the Indian Automotive industry, comprising the automotive vehicle manufacturers, the auto-component manufacturers and tractor manufacturers who operate in India.
  • FAME-II scheme:
    • Government has approved Phase-II of FAME Scheme with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 Crore for a period of 3 years commencing from 1st April 2019. Out of total budgetary support, about 86 percent of fund has been allocated for Demand Incentive so as to create demand for xEVs in the country.
  • This phase aims to generate demand by way of supporting 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars (including Strong Hybrid) and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers. However, depending upon off-take of different category of xEVs, these numbers may vary as the provision has been made for inter as well as intra segment wise fungibility.
  • The National Mission for Electric Mobility (NMEM):
    • It is amongst the most significant recent initiatives taken up by the Department. The genesis of NMEM was the recommendations from Prime Minister’s Group on Technology for fast tracking the introduction and manufacture of full range of electric vehicles, including hybrids, in the country.
    • Based on detailed stakeholder consultations and an in-depth study, the Government had approved the taking up of this initiative on a National Mission mode, along with setting up of a high level apex structure in the form of National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) and National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM).
  • NATRIP project:
    • To adopt global best practices to ensure road safety, environmental protection etc. in design, manufacture, testing and operation of motor vehicles in India since India is signatory to UN Regulation on Harmonisation of Vehicle Specifications under WP-29 of 1998.
    • To support Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26 sets the Indian automotive & component manufacturers for becoming globally competitive for export with aim to scale up exports to the extent of 35-40% of its overall output over the next 10 years.
    • To make Indian vehicles comply with global standard of safety (in line with UN Brasilia resolution) to reduce the high number of casualities and road accidents.
    • To help MSMEs for development and certification of auto-components, both for OEMs and after sale parts.
  • Draft National Auto Policy:
    • Implement measures to increase exports of vehicles and components
  • Improve the skill development and training eco-system
  • Retain weighted tax deduction on R&D expenditure
  • Scale-up of indigenous R&D

Significance of promoting domestic automobile sector in present times:

  • The automotive industry is a pillar of the economy and a key driver of macroeconomic growth and technological advancement. In India, the automotive industry contributes 7.1% to the total GDP and provides employment to about 32 million people, directly and indirectly.
  • Strong domestic demand coupled with supportive Government policies have led to the Indian automotive industry climbing up the ranks to be one of the global leaders. India is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers, three-wheelers and tractors in the world, and the fifth largest vehicle manufacturer overall.
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan or Self-reliant India campaign is the vision of new India. The aim is to make the country and its citizens independent and self-reliant in all senses. The five pillars of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand.
  • The automobile sector can play a very important role in the realization of Atmanirbhar Bharat as it faces heavy competition from vehicles, parts and accessories directly from China. It could help reduce imports, which will help reduce the trade deficit while simultaneously boosting indigenous consumption.
  • The auto sector is also one of the biggest recipient of foreign direct investment and between April 2000 and March 2020, the sector has received FDI amounting to $ 24.2 billion.
  • India is expected to be the world’s third-largest automotive market in terms of volume by 2026. The industry currently manufactures 26 mn vehicles including Passenger Vehicles, Commercial Vehicles, Three Wheelers, Two Wheelers and Quadricycles in April-March 2020, of which 4.7 mn are exported. India holds a strong position in the international heavy vehicles arena as it is the largest tractor manufacturer, second-largest bus manufacturer and third largest heavy trucks manufacturer in the world.
  • The EV industry will create five crore direct and indirect jobs by 2030.
  • It will help us meet our commitments towards Paris agreement, as Government of India has unequivocally demonstrated its intention to curb vehicular pollution through pivotal initiatives such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme, and regulatory measures such as early introduction of Bharat Stage- VI in 2020. Also, fuel consumption standards for Indian vehicles came into force in India in April 2017 for petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger vehicles. These standards are based on a Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) system and targets to bring about around 18% improvement in fuel consumption of passenger vehicles by 2022, compared to 2012
  • Auto companies spend the third most on R&D of any industry11 – in 2015 global automotive R&D spend accounted for 16.1% of the total R&D spend, while healthcare and computing and electronics accounted for 21.3% and 24.5% of the total R&D spend respectively. India is emerging as hub for automotive R&D. It already has more than 30 automotive R&D centers by corporates, 85 percent of which have headquarters in Europe. However, within the spectrum of R&D, the initiatives and efforts so far in India are inclined towards exploitation of the lower labor costs and restricted to simulation and testing in most areas.

Way forward and Conclusion:

        The effective implementation of these policies will require co-ordination across different ministries, government bodies. To ensure synergy, the National Auto Policy proposes the formation of a nodal body for the automotive industry that will be the key consultative agency for Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises (MoHI&PE), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and other ministries, along with nominated stakeholders from industry, academia and related agencies involved in the formulation of automotive related regulations and policies.

Collectively, the policy measures accompanied with a nodal governing structure is expected to promote robust growth of the industry and unlock its potential, with the aim of achieving global leadership.

 

Topic: GS2– Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Discuss briefly about Merchandise Exports from India scheme and Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products scheme (RoDTEP). How far do you think the RoDTEP scheme would benefit the exporters? (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry met the Office-bearers of various Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), to discuss the issues concerning the country’s global trade, ground level situation, and problems being faced by the exporters. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss briefly about Merchandise Exports from India scheme and Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products scheme (RoDTEP). Also highlight the benefits of such a scheme to exporters.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what you understand by about Merchandise Exports.

Body:

Discuss the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and its key features –

  • MEIS was launched with an objective to enhance the export of notified goods manufactured in a country.
  • This scheme came into effect on 1 April 2015 through the Foreign Trade Policy and will be in existence till 2020.
  • MEIS intends to incentivize exports of goods manufactured in India or produced in India.
  • The incentives are for goods widely exported from India, industries producing or manufacturing such goods with a view to making Indian exports competitive.
  • The MEIS covers almost 5000 goods notified for the purpose of the scheme.

Explain in what way it would benefit exports.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

The Indian government has announced a WTO-compliant scheme called Remission of Duties or Taxes On Export Product (RoDTEP) which replaced MEIS starting 1 January, 2021. The finance ministry had set up a committee under the chairmanship of former commerce and home secretary GK Pillai to finalise the rates under RoDTEP that will allow reimbursement of all embedded taxes including local levies paid on inputs by exporters.

Body:

Merchandise Exports from India scheme (MEIS):

                MEIS was introduced in the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) for the period 2015-2020. The MEIS was launched as an incentive scheme for the export of goods. The rewards are given by way of duty credit scrips to exporters. The MEIS is notified by the DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) and implemented by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

  • MEIS replaced the various export incentive schemes which gave different types of duty credit scrips namely, Focus Market Scheme (FMS), Focus Product Scheme (FPS), Vishesh Krishi Gramin Udyog Yojana (VKGUY), Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS) and Agri Infrastructure incentive scheme.
  • MEIS intended to incentivise exports of goods manufactured in India or produced in India. The incentives are for goods widely exported from India, industries producing or manufacturing such goods with a view to making Indian exports competitive. The MEIS covers goods notified for the purpose of the scheme.
  • The incentives under the schemes are calculated as a percentage, which is 2%, 3% or 5% of the realised FOB (free-on-board) value exports in free foreign exchange or FOB value of exports as per shipping bills in free foreign exchange. The incentives are allotted through a MEIS duty credit scrip. The ‘free foreign exchange’ will include foreign exchange earned through international credit cards and other instruments allowed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The duty credit scrips can be utilised to pay customs duties on import of inputs or goods, safeguard duty, anti-dumping duty and any other customs duty under FTP 2015-20. The scrips can also be transferred as well as used for importing goods against them.
  • Exporters can request for a split of the duty credit scrip with a condition of each scrip valuing to at least Rs 5 lakh. The request can also be made after the issue of scrip, with the same port of registration as applicable for the original scrip. However, the procedure is applicable only in respect of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) enabled ports. In the case of non-EDI ports, a duty credit scrip cannot be split after it is issued.
  • The scheme provides the flexibility of import and payment to exporters and has removed many structural inefficiencies of the earlier incentive schemes.

Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products scheme (RoDTEP):

                RoDTEP is a new scheme to replace the existing MEIS scheme for exports of goods from India,  which aims to reimburse the taxes and duties incurred by exporters such as local taxes, coal cess, mandi tax, electricity duties and fuel used for transportation, which are not getting exempted or refunded under any other existing scheme. The rebate would be claimed as a percentage of the Freight On Board (FOB) value of exports.

The Indian government has recently approved this scheme and will be notified in a phased mannerand accordingly Items will be shifted fromexisting scheme MEIS to RoDTEP with propermonitoring &audit mechanism.

This scheme will incentivise exporters at an estimated cost of Rs. 50,000croreto the exchequer.

Objectives of RoDTEP scheme:

  • To boost exports Scheme for enhancing Exports to International Markets.
  • To make Indian exports cost competitive and create a level playing field for Indian exporters in International market.
  • To give a boost to employment generation in various sectors.
  • It aims to boost dwindling outward shipments

Features of RoDTEP:

  • Presently only 30% of total actual indirect taxes incurred by the exporters are refunded through existing MEIS scheme.
  • Under the WTO rules, certain duties like state taxes on power, oil, water, and education cess are allowed to be refunded.
  • In this backdrop, RoDTEP scheme framed in accordance with WTO guidelines which reimburses the taxes/ duties/ levies, at the central, state and local level, which are currently not being refunded under any other mechanism, but which are incurred in the process of manufacture and distribution of exported products and the following taxes will be refunded through this scheme.
  • Taxes include VAT, Central excise duties on fuel used for transportation, electrical duties, which are not getting exempted or refunded under any other existing mechanism.
  • Earlier incentives are provided in the form of transferable Scrips, but this new scheme aims at creating an Electronic credit ledger in the customs system which enables digital refund to exporters, duties and taxes levied at the centre, state and local levels.

Key differences between MEIS and RoDTEP: 

table

Impact of RoDTEP on exporters:

  • At present, GST and import/customs duties for inputs required to manufacture exported products are either exempted or refunded. However, certain taxes/duties/levies are outside GST, and are not refunded for exports.
  • The sequence of introduction of the scheme across sectors, prioritisation of the sectors to be covered, degree of benefit to be given on various items within the rates set by the committee will be decided and notified by the department of commerce. MEIS benefits would be discontinued on such tariff line/item for which benefit under RoDTEP Scheme is announced.
  • The RoDTEP Scheme aims to refund all those taxes and levies which are presently disallowed, for example:
  • Central & state taxes on the fuel (Petrol, Diesel, CNG, PNG, and coal cess, etc.) used for transportation of export products
  • The duty levied by the state on electricity used for manufacturing
  • Mandi tax levied by APMCs
  • Toll tax & stamp duty on the import-export documentation
  • Tax assessment is set to become fully automatic for exporters.
  • Exporters will enjoy lower rates of interest on capital loans, higher insurance cover, financial incentives on exports
  • Increased loan availability for exporters and provision of credit at reduced interest rates to MSMEs
  • The Ministry of Finance will be working towards reducing the clearance time at airports and ports decrease delays in exports. Exporters will be able to monitor the clearance status real-time via a digital platform.

Conclusion:

                Implementation of the scheme would make India a WTO-compliant exporter in the international market and the process that is promised by GOI seems to be a simpler and more transparent one for exporters, improving efficiencies in collection of refunds as well. However, the question of applicable rates remains open as of now, which may well form the crux of exporters’ concerns about the change and that is needed to be addressed. Then only the exporters can accrue true benefits from the scheme.

 


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

6. What is virtue ethics? Can knowledge be equated with virtue? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of virtue ethics.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of virtue ethics and discuss if virtue ethics can be equated to knowledge.

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:

Define virtue ethics.

Body:

A virtue is generally agreed to be a character trait, such as a habitual action or settled sentiment. Specifically, a virtue is a positive trait that makes its possessor a good human being. Thus, Virtue Ethics is an approach that emphasizes an individual’s character as the key element of ethical thinking, rather than rules about the acts themselves (Deontology) or their consequences (Consequentialism).

According to Socrates, virtue is knowledge, because: (1) all living things aim for their perceived good; and therefore (2) if anyone does not know what is good, he cannot do what is good — because he will always aim for a mistaken target; but (3) if someone knows what is good, he will do what is good, because he will aim for what is good. But difficulty is that it is not so easy to know what is good.

At this moment the importance of knowledge come up because ignorance is one of the most important reasons for human foolishness.

Conclusion:

Conclude that as rightly said by Plato, a good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers and good people do not need laws, to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. However virtue includes experience and knowledge both.

Introduction:

                Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach that emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Suppose it is obvious that someone in need should be helped. A utilitarian will point to the fact that the consequences of doing so will maximize well-being, a deontologist to the fact that, in doing so the agent will be acting in accordance with a moral rule such as “Do unto others as you would be done by” and a virtue ethicist to the fact that helping the person would be charitable or benevolent.

This is not to say that only virtue ethicists attend to virtues, any more than it is to say that only consequentialists attend to consequences or only deontologists to rules. Each of the above-mentioned approaches can make room for virtues, consequences, and rules. Indeed, any plausible normative ethical theory will have something to say about all three. What distinguishes virtue ethics from consequentialism or deontology is the centrality of virtue within the theory. Whereas consequentialists will define virtues as traits that yield good consequences and deontologists will define them as traits possessed by those who reliably fulfil their duties, virtue ethicists will resist the attempt to define virtues in terms of some other concept that is taken to be more fundamental. Rather, virtues and vices will be foundational for virtue ethical theories and other normative notions will be grounded in them.

Body:

               
According to Socrates, virtue is knowledge, because all living things aim for their perceived good; and therefore if anyone does not know what is good, he cannot do what is good — because he will always aim for a mistaken target; but if someone knows what is good, he will do what is good, because he will aim for what is good.

If virtue is knowledge, then virtue can be taught. But can virtue be taught?

Plato’s says that because things can be done or used wisely or foolishly, and that only doing or using them wisely is virtuous, then it seems that virtue is knowledge. But, on the other hand, Plato says that even without knowing what is good, having a “correct opinion” about what is good will result in a virtuous life. In which case, virtue is not knowledge but simply doing what is good, whether from knowledge or from a “correct opinion” of what the good is.

A simple example would be that an uneducated farmer still follows the virtues of compassion, tolerance and mutual respect. Even it wasn’t taught to him particularly. It is inherent and it has come with his values as well as his life experiences.

A problem arises when there is information asymmetry. They one person is only guessing (which is what an opinion is) at what the good is, then you don’t know what the good is. But then who does know what the good is (and therefore that your opinion is correct)? The one who has knowledge of the good. But if someone knows what the good is (or in other words, has knowledge of what the good is), then he can explain to you what he knows in which case you will know it as well.

If we take the example of the same farmer. He needs to get loan sanctioned. But the official in charge asks for a bribe. He pays because he needs the money urgently and all his fellow farmers have done the same. It has become a norm to pay to get your work done. He does not know that both taking and giving bribe is an offence.

If virtue can be taught then why does someone who has been shown what the good is not do what is good? And then it seems that virtue cannot be taught, because what can be taught can also be learned?
If we replace the farmer in the above incident with an educated youth. He knows the law. He knows the procedure. He is complicit even after being knowledgeable. So here knowledge cannot be equated with virtue. If all knowledge led to virtues, then with current spread of knowledge, there should very less crime on the planet. All the major frauds in the past few decades have been committed by the wealthy and knowledgeable.

Conclusion:

It seems that virtue is not simply a kind of knowledge. It does not follow that therefore moral virtue would be “a kind” of opinion. Much less does it follow that “virtue will be acquired neither by nature nor by teaching”. Following virtues needs will power and commitment to righteousness. It needs non deterring will. Knowledge will simply act as guide to open more insight in to ethical practices.

 

Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. 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. What is conscience? Explain the following quote with respect to that – “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place”. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of conscience.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the quote and the inherent meaning of it while discussing the concept of conscience in detail.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The inner conscience is defined as that part of the human psyche that induces mental anguish and feelings of guilt when we violate it and feelings of pleasure and well-being when our actions, thoughts and words are in conformity to our value systems.

Body:

The conscience is a servant of the individual’s value system. An immature or weak value system produces a weak conscience, while a fully informed value system produces a strong sense of right and wrong.

 In the above quote, Gandhiji has stated that decisions should be taken based on the conscience, the principles of right and wrong not what majority demands in the society.

The decisions should be based on the ethical principle of good to greater number of people.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of conscience.

Introduction:

Conscience is the human “inner ear” for   the voice which tells us what we should do and what we should leave undone, what the   pattern and purpose of our lives should be. But it is more than the existence of this voice -it is the particular human ability to hear this voice within.
Conscience thus acts as a warning   mechanism, telling us that certain work, thoughts, feelings or acts, are wrong-headed or evil; at other times conscience acts as a calling, urging and impelling action, words, thoughts or   feelings as being right and dutiful. All adult humans have this conscience within.

 Body:

“In matter of conscience, law of majority has no place”

This is a famous quote by Mahatama Gandhi. Many a times, there are conflict between conscience and choice of majority. At times of such dubious situations, conscience guides us through light. Conscience is so inextricably linked with our lives, that Article 25 of Indian constitution guarantees freedom of conscience. There are innumerable instances from history to prove this point.

Our conscience guides and shapes our thought process and leads the development of laws within society. Few examples depicting the conflict between majority and conscience are: For ages, sati pratha was followed by majority in Indian orthodox system, But burning a human being alive can never be justified, just because it was followed by majority. At that time, conscience of people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, shook conscience of others and drove changes in our society.

A recent example is Brexit, though 51% majority voted in favor of Brexit, but that does not prove that 49% were wrong. One drawback of rule of majority is that it kills the voices of minority. Majority of population in developed countries contributes in promoting climate change and its adverse effects. Again, actions of majority cannot be justified in this case.
One of the contentious issue is the issue of the rights of LGBTQ+ people. They are one of the miniscule of minorities and fighting for their rights. How does we apply conscience here? It is simple. You do not. It is their conscience. You need respect their rights and their privacy. We cannot judge others by the lens of consciousness.

We often find moral policing by majority. We had witnessed them imposition of caste customs, suppression of rights of transgender, rights of minorities, in choice related to live in relationships etc. When the world was fighting systemic racism with Black Lives Matter movement (BLM), we saw majoritarian trend All Lives Matters. Despite that movement went ahead across the world and it is still going strong. The success of BLM reassures the above quote.

Conclusion:

Today, when humankind is at the dizzying heights of the Internet Age, sadly, though, much of it is struggling in the abyss of living by and flourishing on the principle of ‘Might is always right, so the majority’s say must resolutely hold commanding sway . One shall have to look no further than the point of the sorry state of affairs that the erring side of humankind has left Mother Nature stuck with. Hence, in matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.


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