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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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 – 2


 

Topic : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

1. “Without PILs, corruption, nepotism and bias in executive actions will remain unchallenged.” In the context of the statement discuss the significance of PIL in the country. (250 words)

Reference: The Wire 

Why the question:

The article explains the fact that the Supreme Court’s greatest gift is the PIL and it is here to stay, whatever critics may say.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the significance of PIL to the country and judiciary in specific.

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:

Narrate briefly the coming of PIL into picture; its origin and background.

Body:

The Constitution of India promises to secure to all its citizens, justice – social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all, fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual. These are the fundamental goals of our constitution.

Explain that the Supreme Court has done a great service to the nation in rendering a large number of judgments in differing situations to enforce the fundamental rights of citizens, individually or collectively. The width and breadth of the writs, orders and directions granted have served public interests beyond imagination.

Millions and millions of Indians have benefitted by the intervention of the Supreme Court. Besides, millions more have benefitted under the orders of high courts across the country exercising jurisdiction in PILs.

Give examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

                Public interest litigation is the use of the law to advance human rights and equality, or raise issues of broad public concern.  It helps advance the cause of minority or disadvantaged groups or individuals.

Public interest cases may arise from both public and private law matters.  Public law concerns the various rules and regulations that govern the exercise of power by public bodies.  Private law concerns those cases in which a public body is not involved, and can be found in areas such as employment law or family law.  Public interest litigation is most commonly used to challenge the decisions of public authorities by judicial review.  Judicial review is a form of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action, or a failure to act, by a public body. Judicial review is concerned with whether the law has been correctly applied, and the right procedures have been followed.

Body:

CONCEPT OF PIL:

According to the jurisprudence of Article 32 of the Constitution of India, “The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this part is guaranteed.” Ordinarily, only the aggrieved party has the right to seek redress under Article 32.

The rules of locus standi have been relaxed and a person acting in a bonafide manner and having sufficient interest in the proceedings of an Public Interest Litigation will alone have the requisite locus standi and can approach the Courts to wipe out any violation of fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions, but not for personal gain, or private profit, or political motive, or any oblique consideration.

PIL as a check on corruption, nepotism and bias:

The Supreme Court of India, in a case has iterated that “In an appropriate case, where the petitioner might have moved a court in her private interest and for redressal of the personal grievance, the court in furtherance of Public Interest may treat it a necessity to enquire into the state of affairs of the subject of litigation in the interest of justice. Thus a private interest case can also be treated as public interest case.

  • The first reported case of PIL, in 1979, focused on the inhuman conditions of prisons and under trial prisoners. In Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar (AIR 1979 SC 1360) the PIL was filed by an advocate on the basis of the news item published in the Indian Express, highlighting the plight of thousands of undertrial prisoners languishing in various jails in Bihar. These proceeding led to the release of more than 40, 000 undertrial prisoners. Right to speedy justice emerged as a basic fundamental right which had been denied to these prisoners. The same set pattern was adopted in subsequent cases.
  • In 1981, the case of Anil Yadav v. State of Bihar (AIR 1982 SC 1008) exposed the brutalities of the Police. Newspaper reports revealed that about 33 suspected criminals were blinded by the police in Bihar, by putting acid into their eyes. Through interim orders, the Supreme Court directed the State Government to bring the blinded men to Delhi for medical treatment. It also ordered speedy prosecution of the guilty policemen. The court also read right to free legal aid as a fundamental right of every accused. Anil Yadav signalled the growth of social activism and investigative litigation.
  • In Citizen for Democracy v. State of Assam (1995) 3SCC 743), the Supreme Court declared that handcuffs and other fetters shall not be forced upon a prisoner while lodged in jail or while in transport or transit from one jail to another or to the court or back.

Significance of PIL:

Through the mechanism of PIL, the courts seek to protect human rights in the following ways:

  • By creating a new regime of human rights by expanding the meaning of fundamental right to equality, life and personal liberty. In this process, the right to speedy trial, free legal aid, dignity, means and livelihood, education, housing, medical care, clean environment, right against torture, sexual harassment, solitary confinement, bondage and servitude, exploitation and so on emerge as human rights. These new reconceptualized rights provide legal resources to activate the courts for their enforcement through PIL.
  • By democratization of access of justice. This is done by relaxing the traditional rule of locus standi. Any public spirited citizen or social action group can approach the court on behalf of the oppressed classes. Courts attention can be drawn even by writing a letter or sending a telegram. This has been called epistolary jurisdiction.
  • By fashioning new kinds of reliefs under the court’s writ jurisdiction. For example, the court can award interim compensation to the victims of governmental lawlessness. This stands in sharp contrast to the Anglo-Saxon model of adjudication where interim relief is limited to preserving the status quo pending final decision. The grant of compensation in PIL matters does not preclude the aggrieved person from bringing a civil suit for damages. In PIL cases the court can fashion any relief to the victims.
  • By judicial monitoring of state institutions such as jails, women’s protective homes, juvenile homes, mental asylums, and the like. Through judicial invigilation, the court seeks gradual improvement in their management and administration. This has been characterized as creeping jurisdiction in which the court takes over the administration of these institutions for protecting human rights.
  • By devising new techniques of fact-finding. In most of the cases the court has appointed its own socio-legal commissions of inquiry or has deputed its own official for investigation. Sometimes it has taken the help of National Human Rights Commission or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or experts to inquire into human rights violations. This may be called investigative litigation.
  • PIL is working as an important instrument of social change. It is working for the welfare of every section of society. The innovation of this legitimate instrument proved beneficial for the developing country like India.
  • PIL has been used as a strategy to combat the atrocities prevailing in society. It’s an institutional initiative towards the welfare of the needy class of the society.
  • In Bandhu Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, SC ordered for the release of bonded laborers.
  • In Murli S. Dogra v. Union of India, court banned smoking in public places.
  • In a landmark judgement of Delhi Domestic Working Women’s Forum v. Union of India Supreme Court issued guidelines for rehabilitation and compensation for the rape on working women.
  • In Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan Supreme court has laid down exhaustive guidelines for preventing sexual harassment of working women in place of their work.

Conclusion:

                In essence, the PIL develops a new jurisprudence of the accountability of the state for constitutional and legal violations adversely affecting the interests of the weaker elements in the community. We may end with the hope once expressed by an eminent judge “The judicial activism gets its highest bonus when its orders wipe some tears from some eyes.

 

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2. What are parliamentary committees? How do they ensure legislatures and executive’s efficiency and accountability? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article highlights the need to rethink the tenurial prescription for reconstitution of Department-related Standing Committees.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward, discuss what parliamentary committees are and explain in what way they ensure legislatures and executive’s efficiency and accountability.

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:

It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

Body:

In the answer body explain in what way these committees play important role in ensuring legislature and executive efficiency and accountability in following ways – The deliberations and scrutiny by committees ensure that Parliament is able to fulfill some of its constitutional obligations in a politically charged environment. They also help in obtaining public feedback and building political consensus on contentious issues. They help develop expertise in subjects, and enable consultation with independent experts and stakeholders. The committees perform their functions without the cloud of political positioning and populist opinion etc. They increase the efficiency and expertise of Parliament. Their reports allow for informed debate in Parliament.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Parliamentary committees increase the efficiency, expertise of Parliament and act as check and balance which must be constituted at the earliest.

Introduction:

In the Indian Parliament, a Parliamentary Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament. It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. Both houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha have similar Committee structures with a few exceptions. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

Body:

Role of committees:

  • Support Parliament’s work.
  • Examine ministerial budgets, consider Demands for Grants, analyse legislation and scrutinise the government’s working.
  • Examine Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
  • Consideration of Annual Reports.
  • Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

Significance of Parliamentary Standing Committees in ensuring financial accountability of the executive:

  • Financial control is a critical tool for Parliament’s authority over the executive; hence finance committees are considered to be particularly powerful.
  • Parliamentary committees are the most important instruments of the legislature. Broadly, there are two types of committees relevant to the budgetary process – Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs) and Financial Committees.
  • While DRSCs are responsible for pre-approval scrutiny of the proposed Demands for Grants, the Financial Committees are involved in the post-facto examination of the usage of the allocated funds.
  • Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs)
    • These committees scrutinise Demands for Grants of ministries and table the reports for discussion in the Lok Sabha.
    • However, the committees cannot suggest cut motions.
  • Financial Committees:
  • They scrutinise and exercise parliamentary control over the finances of the executive and table the findings in the Parliament.
  • This elicits a response from the government highlighting the recommendations of the committee. Based on this, the committee prepares an Action Taken Report (ATR) and lays it on the table of the House.
  • The three financial committees are the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings.
  • While the PAC ensures that the government is spending money for the purpose for which Parliament voted upon, the Estimates Committee examines that whether the money allocated conforms to and is well within the limits of the policy implied in the estimates.
  • Similarly, the Committee on Public Undertakings examines the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on public undertakings.

Following are some of the measures that can be implemented to strengthen the financial oversight by the Parliament over the executive:

  • Linking Financial Outlays to Outcomes:
    • At present, there is no direct linkage between the amount allocated for a ministry or department and the outcomes.
    • This tendency has been resulting in the wastage of precious financial resources and the efforts of the administration.
    • Hence, in order to bring the principle of – Authority should Commensurate with Responsibility – in to practice, adequate measures should be taken to link allocation in the Budget to actual outcomes.
  • Establishing Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO)
    • Typically, a Parliamentary Budget Office is a specialised body involved in budget-related and financial research for the Parliament.
    • These kinds of offices are already existing in the developed countries such as the US, the UK and Australia.
  • Strengthening Public Accounts Committee
    • Reports of the PAC must be discussed in the Lok Sabha through a formal motion moved by the Finance Minister.
    • This measure is expected to ensure that reports of the committee are debated and discussed in the House in detail.
    • Further, steps should be taken to increase the number of reports tabled by the PAC. For instance, the average number of reports submitted by the PAC has fallen to 10-20 reports per year since the 6th Lok Sabha.
  • Strengthening Estimates Committee
    • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) recommended that the Estimates Committee should start examining a strategy paper detailing the objectives of the Budget. This initiative is expected to better inform the general debate.
  • Scrutiny of Supplementary Demands for Grants
    • At present, the Supplementary Demands are not scrutinised by the DRSCs.
    • Hence, an appropriate system should be evolved by which these grants are discussed by DRSCs, and consequently, the Parliamentary oversight is strengthened.
    • Besides, the Estimates Committee should also examine why there was a need for Supplementary Demands, and why these could not be anticipated in the initial Demands itself.

Conclusion:

India is confronted by a range of serious issues, from the pandemic to economic distress, from the security threat from China to rapidly changing global geopolitics. All of them require careful examination. MPs have a role in providing inputs, scrutinizing the executive’s approach, involving domain experts in the discussion, and ensuring accountability. Thus, the PSC act as check and balance which must be constituted at the earliest.

 

Topic : GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

GS-3: basics of cyber security

3. Critically analyse the nature of the cyber security threat from China being faced by India in the recent times. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

An elaborate operation by a Shenzen-based technology company with links to the government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party, to keep tabs on a very large number of individuals and entities in India has been in news recently.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse critically the nature of the cyber security threat from China being faced by India in the recent times.

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:

Start by explaining the background of the question.

Body:

The company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, calls itself a pioneer in using big data for “hybrid warfare” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. China’s authoritarian government, ruling party, military, and many private companies frequently operate as a giant, coordinated operation, of which countries around the world are targets.

Discuss the recent cyber powers that China has attained. Explain how they pose deeper threats on countries like India.

Conclusion:

Discuss what should India do, suggest ways and means of preparedness that India should be ready with.

Introduction:

                The Indian Express’s ‘China is Watching‘ investigation has spotlighted an elaborate operation by a Shenzen-based technology company with links to the government in Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party, to keep tabs on a very large number of individuals and entities in India. The company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, calls itself a pioneer in using big data for “hybrid warfare” and the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

This not only poses threat to security and privacy of the individuals and entities but it also has impact on security on the country as many high profile individuals as well as key figures are being monitored.

Body:

China’s cyber warfare:

  • It was soon after the Gulf War of 1991 that the Chinese realised that the days of conventional warfare were rapidly coming to an end. The Chinese understood that American technology was far ahead of them. “They analysed that if they get into the ICT (information and communications technology), they could leapfrog a couple of generations and get ahead. This decision also coincided with China turning into the electronics factory of the world.”
  • In 2003, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and China’s Central Military Commission officially approved the concept of “Three Warfares”, comprising psychological, media, and legal warfare. It was then decided at the highest levels that the PLA should be an army ready to fight a war in the information domain by 2020. Soon, the PLA began to set up intelligence units dedicated to cyber operations.

Nature of cyber security threat:

  • Since 2016, India has been the sixth most targeted country by China-based hackers mostly targeting IT, aerospace and public administration sectors. According to a cyber-intelligence report put together based on conversations on the dark web, an attack by Chinese hackers on several Indian organizations including media houses, telecom companies and even a tyre company is in the works.
  • Chinese hackers have even intensified cyber-attacks against government agencies and other institutions in India to sully India’s reputation or steal sensitive information from the systems using Remote Access Trojan(RAT).
  • China started a policy of weaponising its existing manufacturing capability of civilian products for military purposes by leveraging the control over any instrument by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
  • Most mobile phones, for example, are equipped with a ‘soft’ rather than a ‘hard’ switch, Pavithran said: “This means that even if you switch off the phone, the sensors inside continue to feed data to the cloud. Entire populations can be monitored with this control.”
  • China’s long experience of keeping its own people under surveillance has contributed to its expertise in individual surveillance.
  • The Chinese use this information for kompromat, a Russian term for any information that can compromise a person, and which can therefore, be used to blackmail him/her.
  • Typically, the algorithms of the Chinese apps are not so robust as compared to other applications which in normal course allow auditing and cross-checking of the fact of the content. As a result, it had been difficult to rein in the spread of the propaganda and disinformation-ridden news on these Chinese applications
  • China passed a law under which all Chinese companies were supposed to assist the country’s intelligence-gathering operations. “They cannot say no. Besides there is a close link among the civil, military establishment and academia in China.”
  • China has graduated from being a force ready to fight information warfare to a force equipped for ‘intelligentised’ warfare. “They have managed to weaponise their appliances all over the world.”
  • This cyber prowess, he said, gives the PLA the ability to identify key personnel and directly target them in kinetic warfare.
  • In 2014, the United States government discovered that a Chinese unit had hacked into the Office of Personnel Management, a unit of the federal government, and taken out records of 21 million people. Around 4 to 5 million of these people worked for the US military, and included CIA agents.
  • “The hackers got hold of 127 page forms, listing every detail of the individual official. This was one of the biggest hacks of classified personnel documents,” Gen Hooda said.
  • The US Department of Justice under President Barack Obama indicted five PLA officers by name for cyber crime. The names and photos of the officers were released, and they were accused of hacking and stealing information from several companies. It was for the first time that the US took such a step against a foreign power.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops.
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction.
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols.
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion:

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 


General Studies – 3


 

 Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

4. Present a stock of the past, present and future of engineering in India. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

On the birth anniversary of the father of Indian engineering, Sir M Visvesvaraya, it is important to appreciate and take stock of the past, present and future of engineering in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Present a stock of the past, present and future of engineering in India.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the background of the question.

Body:

Explain that Society flourishes because of the planners and developers who provide it with missions and visions. Engineers are the architects of the nations, the real builders of socio-economic infrastructure. Engineering holds strategic importance in India’s economic development. The government, through its various initiatives, is committed to providing a platform to enhance engineering advancements in India. A few of the critical initiatives are Make in India, Start-up India, the Smart Cities Mission, and Skill India, which are visionary for job-creation and entrepreneurship through multi-skilled development programmes for all socio-economic groups.

Discuss importance of engineering, trace on a timeline evolution of the same in Indian context.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the importance and inevitability of engineering in the growth and development of the country.

Introduction:

                India celebrates the 159th birth anniversary of the father of Indian engineering, M Visvesvaraya on September 15. He was not only an exceptional engineer but also an eminent scholar and a wise statesman. His book Planned Economy for India is a masterpiece in the field of economic planning. He was awarded the highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in 1955 for his copious contributions to nation-building.

Body:

Scenario of engineering in India:

  • Society flourishes because of the planners and developers who provide it with missions and visions. Engineers are the architects of the nations, the real builders of socio-economic infrastructure. One of the earliest engineering colleges in India, Thomson College. We can even see the engineering contribution of Thomson College in the form of the Ganga Canal project while travelling along the Delhi-Dehradun highway. We have come a very long way from Thomson College to globally-renowned IITs.
  • Engineering and economic development:
    • Engineering holds strategic importance in India’s economic development. The government, through its various initiatives, is committed to providing a platform to enhance engineering advancements in India. A few of the critical initiatives are Make in India, Start-up India, the Smart Cities Mission, and Skill India, which are visionary for job-creation and entrepreneurship through multi-skilled development programmes for all socio-economic groups.
    • In the words of the Prime Minister, India possesses the 3Ds — demography, democracy and demand — which help in the growth of business and the development of the nation and engineering sectors. In the next 10 years, India is poised to become one of the largest manufacturing destinations in the world.
  • Engineering and fighting the pandemic:
    • The current pandemic has posed a difficult question to the entire human race. At such a crucial time, engineers have been the unsung heroes of the hour. They have played a central role in nation-building in terms of ideation, improvisation, invention and innovation.
    • The contribution, collaboration, and healthy competition amongst our higher education institutions to develop solutions for the various problems brought on by the pandemic.
    • The supply of ventilators and PPE kits, automated solutions to disease monitoring, integrating sensor-based applications like Aarogya Setu to assist, detect and prevent the spread of the disease, thermal-monitoring devices using infrared waves, satellite-facilitated population density measuring applications to analyse the vulnerability of the outbreaks region-wise are few of the outstanding offerings of engineers to humanity during the pandemic.
    • This not only prevented the spread of the disease but also helped in the strengthening of STEM disciplines and knowledge, boosting domestic industries and ensuring “vocal for local” for Bharat to become Atmanirbhar.
  • Engineering: The past present and the future:
    • Engineers are synonymous with “diligence and determination”, and the nation is genuinely grateful for their invaluable contributions.
    • From the invention of fire to the fourth industrial revolution, engineers have played a pivotal role in the progression of humanity.
    • They have built dams that enable electricity generation, transcended interstellar spaces, made quantum computers, developed bio-engineered capsules for targeted drug delivery, and created wings for humans to soar high in the sky.
    • Over the years, engineers gave new dimensions to the world and in parallel modulated their roles to re-engineer themselves and society.
    • In today’s world, engineers and entrepreneurs are synonymous as they dream, research, create and contribute to produce the most prolific products which enable developments that touch every sphere of life.

Empowering engineering in India:

  • The Ministry of Education has come up with outstanding programmes, missions and schemes. For example, focusing on the major SDGs for health and education, water resource management, energy consumption, and conservation, with initiatives like IMPRINT, building digital libraries like the National Digital Library, and investing in schemes like UAY to promote problem-specific industrial research and innovations and ensure good manufacturing.
  • Over the years, engineers from around the country have participated in the Smart Indian Hackathon (SIH) and have come up with solutions for the most burning problems of our society. To bring international perspective and exposure, we have established synergies through schemes like GIAN and GIAN+.
  • The NEP proposes to train engineers in a manner that they are sensitive towards local problems while having a global perspective. They will master AI and machine learning and also understand the most significant software codes of human interactions. The policy emphasises both contents as well as patents; it has options and opportunities which will enable us to reform, transform, and perform.

Conclusion:

As we remember the finest civil engineer of all time, the founder of India’s engineering infrastructure, M Visvesvaraya on this day, my kudos to all the engineers of the nation, who are the pillars of India’s sustainability and development. Sir M V is a true motivation for engineers. His legacy will inspire the generations to come.

 

Topic : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5. Bring out the key challenges faced by textiles and apparel industry in India. Highlight some measures taken by the government to address them. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The US restrictions on some textile imports from Xinjiang in China is likely to augur well for the Indian textile exporters, according to a report.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the key challenges faced by textiles and apparel industry in India while highlighting measures taken by the govt. in the same direction.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Indian textile industry is the second largest manufacturer and exporter in the world. It contributes 12.65 per cent to the manufacturing sector and 2.3 per cent to the GDP. However, the sector has just 5  percent share in the global textiles exports.

Body:

Give brief statistics relevant to the textiles sector in introduction.

Enlist the global and domestic challenges the sector faces; Challenges plaguing the textiles sector and apparel industry:

External challenges: Increased Competition: Indian garments face stiff competition due to higher tariffs, from countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam which enjoy zero/preferential duty access to key markets.

China factor: In recent years, China has lowered its imports of Indian yarn because of reduced production due to curbs placed by US.

Domestic challenges:

Higher costs: The central government in an attempt to safeguard cotton farmers has raised the MSP of cotton by 25%. It has forced millers to buy cotton at a much higher rate.

Technological gaps: While the ginning and spinning sectors are on par with international standards, marginal technological gap exists in weaving, processing and embroidery and larger gaps in knitting, technical textile and garmenting segments.

Domination of SMEs: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) constitute 80% of the textile industry. They face issue of fragmented production, lack of access to technology and finances. They are not able to match to cost and scale of production of bigger mills in other countries.

Discuss the measures taken by the government to address these challenges.

Conclusion:

Suggest a way forward.

Introduction

The textiles and apparel industry in India has strengths across the entire value chain from fiber, yarn, fabric to apparel. It is highly diversified with a wide range of segments ranging from products of traditional handloom, handicrafts, wool and silk products to the organized textile industry. The organized textile industry is characterized by the use of capital-intensive technology for mass production of textile products and includes spinning, weaving, processing, and apparel manufacturing. 

Body:

Textile sector in India:

  • The domestic textiles and apparel industry contributes 2% to India’s GDP, 7% of industry output in value terms and 12% of the country’s export earnings.
  • The textiles and apparel industry in India is the second-largest employer in the country providing direct employment to 45 million people and 60 million people in allied industries.
  • FDI in the textiles and apparel industry has reached up to $3.45 bn during 2020
  • Exports in the textiles and apparel industry are expected to reach $300 bn by 2024-25 resulting in a tripling of Indian market share from 5% to 15%.
  • Textile & garments industry in India is expected to reach $223 bn by 2021 from $140.4 bn in 2018.

Challenges faced by Indian textiles sector:

  • Market Reality: India’s textile industry grapples with domestic issues including outdated technology, inflexible labour laws, infrastructure bottlenecks, and a fragmented nature of the industry.
  • The textiles sector in India, primarily dominated by the unorganized and small players, had taken a major hit with demonetization and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
  • Global Policies: According to the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, a country needs to phase out export subsidies for a product as it achieves export competitiveness, defined as 3.25% share in world trade, and the per-capita income reaches more than $1,000 per annum.
  • As per this agreement, India is under pressure to end export subsidy for the textiles sector by 2018.
  • This implies that the existing subsidy schemes including the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme will get affected by the same.
  • Demand for MMF: Globally, manmade textiles and garments are in high demand, with the ratio of cotton-to-manmade-fibre consumption at 30:70.
  • India, despite being the second-largest textiles exporter in the world, lags in this category because of unavailability of manmade fibres at competitive prices.
  • Free-trade pacts: like the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) have led to intense competition from countries like Bangladesh which have zero-duty access to the Indian market. The government should take a re-look at such pacts and try to work out a solution.
  • The government should aim at driving scale across the textiles value chain by encouraging large investment, consolidation of firms and enlargement of clusters.
  • Impact of recent reforms: The sector went through a phase of stagnating exports, demonetisation, bank restructuring and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • India, which was the second largest exporter of Textile & Clothing between 2014 and 2017 after China, slipped to the fifth place losing its position to Germany, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • Delay in disbursal of subsidies: Fast-track disbursal of subsidies for technology up-gradation under the TUFS scheme to help the industry modernise the operation.

Measures taken by the government to address them:

  • Scheme For Integrated Textile Park:
    • The scheme targets industrial clusters / locations with high growth potential, which require strategic interventions by way of providing world-class infrastructure support.
    • Public Private Partnership mode is followed to setup Integrated Textile Parks (ITPs).
  • SILK SAMAGRA- Integrated Scheme For Development Of Silk Industry:
    • Produce Basic & Commercial Seed of the improved Silkworm breeds
  • National Technical Textiles Mission:
    • To position the country as a global leader in Technical Textiles.
    • To promote usage of technical textiles in various flagship missions, programmes including strategic sectors such as agriculture, aquaculture, dairy, poultry, etc.
  • Powertex India Scheme:
    • To provide financial assistance to economically weaker low-end powerloom units for their modernisation and Infrastructure development.
  • Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme:
    • To promote Ease of doing Business in the country and to achieve the vision of general employment and promoting exports through Make in India and Zero Effect and Zero Defect in manufacturing.
  • Improved Cultivation and Advanced Retting Exercise for Jute (Jute – ICARE):
    • This pilot project launched in 2015 is aimed at addressing the difficulties faced by the jute cultivators by providing them certified seeds at subsidized rates, seed drills to facilitate line sowing, nail-weeders to carry out periodic weeding and by popularising several newly developed retting technologies under water limiting conditions.
  • Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana:
    • for providing social security benefits like life, accidental & disability insurance coverage to handloom weavers/workers in the age group of 51-59 years across the country.
  • SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of Efficient Textiles Technology to Help Small Scale Industries):
    • to provide energy-efficient powerlooms, motors and rapier kits to small and medium powerloom units at no upfront cost.

Additional Measures needed:

  • Government needs to move away from export-specific subsidy, which violates WTO norms, to focus on regional and cluster subsidies, technology upgradation and skill development subsidies, which benefit all the producers.
  • In India, cotton and manmade fibres (MMF) have differential tax treatment, here fibre neutrality will give a boost to the industry.
  • Under differential tax treatment cotton is taxed at 5% and manmade fibres at 12%.
  • In fact, of the total textiles and clothing exports from India, cotton accounts for around 75%, there is a need to increase production with the global consumption patterns.
  • While India has abundant supply of labour, flexibility in labour laws and adequate skilling will give a big boost to the textiles industry.
  • For instance, women should be allowed to work in all three shifts, after taking into account adequate safeguard measures.
  • Technology upgradation schemes will help Indian players to increase both their productivity and competitiveness.
  • In addition, the government needs to carefully evaluate the various trade agreement opportunities Bangladesh and Vietnam benefit from favourable access to some of the big apparel markets.
  • The government also needs to re-look at fibre neutrality and evaluate various trade agreement opportunities, while domestically focusing more on technology upgradation and skill development.

Conclusion:

While over the past few years, Vietnam and Bangladesh have been the key beneficiaries for a shift away from China, India also stands to gain from any such market opportunity which may arise, given its strong presence in the apparels if adequate measures are taken up to ensure capacity building and ease of doing business in apparel which will automatically ensure India is atmanirbhar in apparels and textiles.

 

Topic : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6. “Artificial intelligence is going to change every industry, but we have to understand its limits”. In light of this, discuss the benefits and challenges associated with AI in Indian context. (250 words)

Reference: sas.com

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of AI and the revolution it possibly will bring in the coming days.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the benefits and challenges associated with AI in Indian 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:

Start by defining what you understand by AI.

Body:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to learn and reason through analogy, analyze, interpret information, recognize speech, visual perception and take decisions. In other words, AI is application of human intelligence by the machines.

Discuss in detail the challenges and benefits of AI specific to Indian context.

Benefits ranging from- contribution to economy, access to affordable healthcare, education, agriculture, benefit in infrastructure and transportation sector, manufacturing sector etc.

List down the challenges such as – lack of AI expertise, lack of adequate data, lack of funding and deadline, unemployment etc.

Suggest solutions and explain what needs to be done to overcome the above mentioned challenges.

Conclusion:

To truly harness AI’s transformative potential, India must address its lack of expertise in AI research and come up with multi-pronged strategy to innovate and achieve in this direction.

Introduction:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. AI refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision

Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings in a host of real-world applications which had earlier merely been a subject of science fiction novels or movies. The breakthroughs such as the Weather Company’s to be launched, the GRAF model capable of predicting a thunderstorm virtually anywhere on the planet every hour and other such applications are useful. AI has made inroads to automation and decision support systems to complement or augment human abilities.

Body:

AI and its impact on various industries:

AI enhances the ability of computer systems to learn from their experiences over time, makes them capable of reasoning, perceiving relationships and analogies, helps solve problems, as well as respond in natural languages and adapt to new conditions.

AI allows machines to sense and comprehend their surroundings and act according to their own intelligence or learning.

  • Governance:
    • As India is poised for reforms in governance, AI can actually help with process optimization and cost savings for the government, in addition to solving some strategic problems or assisting in decision making.
  • Economy:
    • Economic growth is vital for development, and the next generation of economic growth is anticipated to be fueled by technologies relating to big data, block chain, quantum computing and AI. These game changing technologies will spur innovation, create value for the investors, generate specialized job domains and as a result, propel economic growth.
    • Issues such as tax evasion, money laundering etc can be easily addressed using AI.
    • 68% of Indian business decision-makers believe AI will help their business in various ways such as boosting productivity, generating growth and addressing societal issues
    • India has one of the world’s largest automotive industries, with a significant production and consumption base. AI applications have vast scope in the automotive sector, ranging from enhancing fuel efficiency to passenger safety to the concept of self-driving vehicles.
  • Healthcare:
    • Healthcare sector in India is burgeoning with innovation and demand, having business models unique to the Indian requirements and spending power.
    • AI can augment the potential of government and private sector to deliver healthcare services and products with improved drug safety, better diagnosis and analysis of clinical reports for preventive and accurate treatment.
  • Defence:
    • More advanced applications of AI extend to the domains of foreign, defence and security policies. Deep learning in AI can unravel futuristic functions by augmenting decision making ability of the humans with access to the information derived from large data sets.
  • Security:
    • AI has many peace time applications as well. It can be used to train soldiers and pilots, simulate war-game, synthesize information from surveillance systems and address critical problems in optimizing logistics, fleet management and maintenance
    • Vision and Voice systems to interpret and comprehend visual inputs such as images, clinical diagnosis and facial recognition or voice inputs to recognize the source of the sound.
    • Law enforcement or internal security requirements for detecting and recognizing individuals or criminals, with multitudes of data streaming from police databases or the network of surveillance cameras.
    • Banking and financial services for fraud detection using advanced algorithms to identify patterns in transactions and consumer behaviours which are risk prone.
    • AI is also helping insurance providers arrive at better risk assessment.
    • Countries such as India can benefit a lot from the use of AI by focusing on sectors such agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure etc.

Challenges of AI:

  • Lack of broad based expertise in research and application of AI.
  • Absence of enabling data ecosystems –access to intelligent data.
  • Data usage without consent, data selection bias and the resulting discrimination of AI models.
  • High resource cost and low awareness for adoption of AI.
  • Privacy and security, including a lack of formal regulations around anonymisation of data.
  • Absence of collaborative approach to adoption and application of AI.
  • Challenges remain in respect of applying stringent and narrowly focused patent laws to AI applications
  • Indian technical universities are not doing enough to strengthen the AI ecosystem unlike their global counterparts.

Way forward:

  • AI research in India is still in its infancy and requires largescale concerted and collaborative interventions.
  • Skilling and reskilling of workforce forms an integral part of adopting AI.
  • Adoption of decentralized teaching mechanisms, working in collaboration with the private sector and educational institutions.
  • Adoption of AI across the value chain viz. startups, private sector, PSUs and government entities, will truly unlock the potential by creating a virtuous cycle of supply and demand.
  • Data is one of the primary drivers of AI solutions, and thus appropriate handling of data, ensuring privacy and security is of prime importance.
  • Establishing data protection frameworks and adoption of international standards.
  • In order for India to ride the AI innovation wave, a robust intellectual property framework is required.

Conclusion:

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge” was what Stephen Hawking said. The transformative capability of AI in India is huge, and must be rooted in an egalitarian ethical basis. Any institutional framework for AI should have a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach, and have an explicit focus on the ethical basis.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.  Media and ethics.

7. Honest engagement with media ethics seems to be deteriorating in the present times. Discuss the ethical issues that plague Indian journalism. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is amidst the recent trends of degenerating ethics that Indian Media has undergone.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the ethical issues that plague Indian journalism.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One can first start by explaining the essential ethical aspects expected in journalism. While various codes may have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability, as these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public.

Body:

India’s gargantuan news market has 82,222 newspapers; Delhi alone has 16 English dailies in circulation. It has close to 800 television news channels, an industry that has almost trebled in the last decade.

Discuss first briefly the issues plaguing the media – paid news, Opaque private treaties, Blatant blackmail, Widening legal regulatory gap, Flawed measurements of audience reach and readership etc.

Then explain in detail the associated ethical issues. Present examples to justify the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

                Commercial success of media organisations had become a function of advertising revenues rather than subscription and circulation figures. The advertisers had thus replaced the recipients of media products. By the same logic, circulation figures, meant to attract advertising, became more important than content. The pursuit of profit has altered the profile of the media entrepreneur. Today, a media enterprise is seen as a necessary subsidiary for a growing business enterprise, a political party and even individuals seeking to leverage public influence for private gain.

This all has led to deterioration of media ethics.

Body:
Ethical issues that plague Indian journalism
:

  • The recent practice of leveraging political and economic content in our media for overt and covert revenue generation have the malevolent potential to tarnish our polity and even destabilise the economy.
  • Sensationalism: Media often adopt sensationalism caring little whit about disturbing communal harmony. They highlight stories about crime and sexual violence, because people in general have a taste for them and there is a competition for circulation. Ex: Coverage of death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
  • Moral Panic: Though moral panic‘ is a criminological concept but has become a tactical tool of public hysteria for news media. It has been defined as a situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating the threat in the first place. Media use fear-mongering, hate oriented and exaggerated content to victimize the devil folks, a protagonist in the scene, and gather large viewership. Ex: Blaming of Tablighi Jamat during start of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Negative News: A psychological study pointed to the existences of negative bias‘- a term refers to our collective desire to hear and remember negative information- simply one of the prominent cause of news media to focus more on negative aspect of news. This psychological habit of negative bias of viewers made news media to make the news worthy and attractive. News media tend to focus on negative part because news consumers are more attentive to negative information and study has revealed negative aspect of news is more arousing and attention grabbing. Therefore, miseries, deaths, disasters, crisis, distressed, violence, conflicts gain more space and time in news program. Ex: Coverage of Pathankot incident.
  • Unsymmetrical Facts/ Molded/ Fabricated Information: Most of the time, to make the news lucrative and attention grabbing, facts are molded, unexplored, fabricated or sometime hidden. Though it is against the norms of journalistic practices but to provide a good entertainment value, production team do not flinch to compromise with journalistic codes and ethics. Ex: using fake news or partial truth which.
  • Brackets of Nationalism/ Patriotism/ Ethnocentrism/ Biased Reporting: Reviews of previous studies revealed that nationalism, patriotism and ideology of news organization overwhelm the conflict coverage which affects the pacification dealings. This also brand conflict in perspective of nationalistic fervor. When such an attempt is made, a democratic citizenry is prompted to sit before the TV screens and associate their patriotic ideology with the news content delivered on screen.
  • Labeling: In news media, labeling is practiced by symbolizing some situation or person with other. Name-calling, using provocative terms, demonizing something using certain words or phrases comes under labeling. Ex: UPSC Jihad show by Sudarshan TV to target minorities.
  • Manipulation of TRP ratings: It was come to light recently that some news channel manipulated BARC TRP ratings in order to show higher viewership.

Outcome:

  • Failure of the fourth pillar of democracy to do its job properly and ethically. Important public issues are pushed to the background and only sensational issues are run.
  • The news commercialisation policy has made journalists to lose credibility because, it is now believed that they pay attention to the wealthy people who can pay for news so that they can suppress, twist and falsify the stories
  • It has given birth to a situation whereby news is narrowly defined against the weight of the news source’s pocket. The media, whether print or electronic, now use money as criteria for publishing news.
  • Another problem is the censorship and gate keeping problem, which news commercialisation constitutes for the editor. The editor is handicapped under the commercialisation policy. It is the duty of the editor to always edit stories, but, under the news commercialisation policy, the editor cannot edit stories according to known standards or principles in journalism.
  • Government of some countries may bribe journalists to write favourable news items about its policies and programmes, even when they are inimical to public interest.
  • The ability of the editor to judge what is news or not is completely restricted because, money becomes the evaluator.

Way forward and conclusion:

  • Truth and Accuracy: Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. They should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts and ensure that they have been checked.
  • Independence: Journalists must be independent voices. They should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. Proactively they should declare to editors – or the audience – any political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.
  • Fairness and Impartiality: Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
  • Humanity: Journalists should do no harm. What one publishes or broadcasts may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.
  • Accountability: A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold one accountable. When one commit errors, he must correct them and the expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical.
  • We need to add new rules to regulate journalists and their work in addition to the responsibilities outlined above, and create a legal and social framework, that encourages journalists to respect and follow the established values of their craft.
  • News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) must be proactive in tackling excessive commercialization of news, fake news, targeted journalism etc.

A proper ethical standard for journalism must be redeveloped by consulting relevant stakeholders and adopting best international practices.


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