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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 January 2021


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. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a man who had already made a name for himself with his leadership of the struggle of Indians in South Africa and by leading the struggles of Indian peasants and workers in Champaran, Ahmedabad and Kheda, was now ready to take up the mantle of India’s National Movement. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain as to how Gandhi was ready with his experiences in South Africa and India to emerge as the leader of Indian National Movement.

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:

Start by giving context of Mahatma Gandhi’s sojourn with various struggles in India and South Africa.

Body:

Elaborate on various struggles that Mahatma Gandhi took to fight racial discrimination, unjust practices and his various Satyagraha against discriminatory laws.

In the next part, mention about Gandhian movements in Champaran. Ahmedabad and Kheda and the method adopted. Wrtite about the lessons by Gandhi and how he further practiced the technique of Satygraha at a local level.

Mention about how Gandhi gained experience and developed a style of leadership acceptable to all from the above events.

Conclusion:

Summarize as to how the above prepared Gandhi develop his tried and tested Satyagraha method and his unique style of leadership and took over the helm of India’s national movement.

Introduction:

The Gandhian strategy is the combination of truth, sacrifice, non- violence, selfless service and cooperation. Gandhi was Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who moulded the character of the struggle for freedom in India, and impressed his own ideals upon the new governing class that came into power when the English went home.

Body:

  • Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa:
    • He organized non-violent protests against the racial discrimination directed towards the native Africans and Indians in 1894.
    • He came to India for a short time in 1896 to gather fellow Indian to serve in South Africa. He gathered 800 Indians but they were welcomed by an irate mob and Gandhi was injured in the attack.
    • He organized the Indian Ambulance Corps for the British during the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899. So that British could understand humanity but the ethnic discrimination and torture continued on Indians.
    • He set up Phoenix Farm near Durban where Gandhi trained his cadre for peaceful restraint or non-violent Satyagraha. This farm considered as the birthplace of Satyagraha.
    • He also set up another farm which was called Tolstoy Farm which is considered as the place where Satyagraha was moulded into a weapon of protest.
    • The first non-violent Satyagraha campaign of Mahatma Gandhi was organized in September 1906 to protest against the Transvaal Asiatic ordinance which was constituted against the local Indians. After that, he also held Satyagraha against the Black Act in June 1907.
    • He was sentenced to jail for organizing the non-violent movement in 1908 but after meeting with General Smuts who was a British Commonwealth statesman, was released.
    • He was sentenced to a three-month jail in Volkshurst and Pretoria in 1909. After release, he went to London to seek the assistance of the Indian community there but his effort was in vain.
    • In 1913, he fought against the override of non-Christian marriages.
    • He organized another Satyagraha movement in Transvaal against the oppression that Indian minors were suffering from. He led around 2,000 Indians across the Transvaal border.
  • Mahatma Gandhi in India
    • After his long stay in South Africa which was around 20 year, gave huge respect as a nationalist, theorist and organizer in India.
    • He was invited by the Gopal Krishna Gokhale who was senior leader of Indian National Congress to join Indian National Movement against tyrant British Rule conveyed to him by C. F. Andrews.
    • Mahatma Gandhi returned to India, Gokhale thoroughly guided Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi about the prevailing political situation in India and also the social issues of the time.
  • Movement Started by Gandhi in India:
    • Champaran Satyagraha (1917):
      • In Champaran district of Bihar the condition of Indigo cultivators became miserable under Tinkathiya system.
      • Under this system the cultivators were forced to cultivate Indigo on the best 3/20th part of their land and were forced to sell them at a cheaper price.
      • The situation for the farmers became worse due to harsh weather conditions and levy of heavy taxes.
      • Then, Rajkumar Shukla met Mahatma Gandhi at Lucknow and invited him.
      • At Champaran, Mahatma Gandhi adopted the approach of civil disobedience movement and launched demonstrations and strikes against the landlords.
      • As a result, the government set up a Champaran agrarian committee of which Gandhiji was also one of the members.
      • All the demands of the cultivators were accepted and the Satyagraha was successful.
    • Kheda Satyagraha (1917 -1918):
      • A no-tax campaign was started by Mohan Lal Pandey in 1917 who demanded the remission of taxes due to poor harvest or crop failure in Kheda village, Gujarat.
      • Kheda Satyagraha is a peasant struggle against the British government’s demand of the full realization of the land tax by the peasants despite famine and crop losses. Hence, the peasants of Kheda demanded non-payment of land taxes.
      • Mahatma Gandhi was invited and he joined the movement on 22 March, 1918.
      • There, he started Satyagraha. The movement was also joined by Vallabhbhai Patel and Indulal Yagnik.
      • Finally, the demands were fulfilled by the British government and it was successful.
    • Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918)
      • Mahatma Gandhi led the Ahmedabad Mill Strike after Anusuyya Sarabhai (Ahmedabad Mill Owners’ Association President) urged Gandhi to intervene in the matter.
      • Gandhi used Satyagraha and hunger strike for the first time during an industrial dispute between the owners and workers of a cotton mill in Ahmedabad.
      • The owners wanted to withdraw the plague bonus to the workers while the workers were demanding a hike of 35% in their wages.
      • During the peaceful strike led by Gandhi, he underwent a hunger strike.
      • The Ahmedabad Mill strike was successful and the workers were granted the wage hike they wanted.
    • Gandhiji’s characteristic traits in Indian freedom struggle:
      • Gandhiji also gave his own ideals of non-violence and truth which formed the basis of all his mass struggles.
      • His method of political protest which he called satyagraha, which literally means ‘truth force’ or ‘the struggle for truth’.
      • Gandhi described it as ‘a force which is born of truth and love or non-violence’. For him, it was the end of a quest for a moral equivalent of war.
      • Satyagraha was not passive resistance, but active opposition to any form of injustice.
      • The abrupt withdrawal of non-cooperation movement soon after Chauri Chaura massacre is an example of following above ideals.
      • Gandhiji was also in favor of reform of the caste system by abolishing the discriminatory practices which was in opposition to few leaders who wanted complete annihilation of caste system.
      • His ideas of making a small and common thing the base of a struggle was unique.
        • Ex: Salt in the case of Salt Satyagraha.
      • He understood the pulse of the people by travelling the length and breadth of country and made the freedom struggle more inclusive by involving all sections of people from women to children to tribals.
      • Gandhiji’s leadership qualities and skills
        • Gandhi would teach us countless lessons about life, leadership and much more.
        • Gandhi learnt his Leadership skills during his years in South Africa, and honed them in India.
        • He was naturally charismatic. He had a “feel” for his Follower’s needs which was uncannily correct.
        • But he did develop formal tools and methods to become a better Leader over time.
        • He had a rock-solid value system from which all of his activities stemmed, he wanted to make major changes at every turn in his life, and he had a totally interdependent relationship with his followers.
        • As a man of action, he used the 4 E’s throughout his life: Envision, Enable, Empower, and Energize.

Conclusion:

Arrival of Gandhi and his techniques merged these different forms of struggle emanating from various platforms into one national movement based on mass struggle. The Indian national movement became an inclusive, and welfarist embodying the idea of egalitarian nationalism.

 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

2.  Jallianwala Bagh massacre epitomizes the brutality and oppressive nature of British Rule in India. Discuss. What were the outcomes of Jallianawala Bagh incident on the Indian National movement? (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Jallianwala bagh massacre and the atrocities it wreaked up on innocent Indians and to mention about the impact of Jallianwala Bagh on contemporary India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving a brief account of monstrosity of Jallianwala Bagh.

Body:

Mention the causes of massacre and it epitomizes the brutality of the British. Draw parallels to other atrocities on revolutionaries, famines and violent suppression of various revolts and rebellions.

Write about the short term and long term impact of the massacre. The clashes all over the country, return of awards, loss of the total remaining faith in the British, Its role in noncooperation movement, impact on revolutionary nationalism, Lessons for Gandhi etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude on how the massacre instilled a new spirit of togetherness among nationalists of all strands.

Introduction:

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also called Massacre of Amritsar was an incident in which British troops fired on a large crowd of unarmed Indians in an open space known as the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar in Punjab.

Body:

  • Jallianwala Bagh massacre:
    • April 13, 1919, marked a turning point in the Indian freedom struggle.
    • It was Baisakhi that day, a harvest festival popular in Punjab and parts of north India.
    • Local residents in Amritsar decided to hold a meeting that day to discuss and protest against the confinement of Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two leaders fighting for Independence, and implementation of the Rowlatt Act, which armed the British government with powers to detain any person without trial.
    • The crowd had a mix of men, women and children.
    • They all gathered in a park called the Jallianwala Bagh, walled on all sides but for a few small gates, against the orders of the British.
    • The protest was a peaceful one, and the gathering included pilgrims visiting the Golden Temple who were merely passing through the park, and some who had not come to protest.
    • While the meeting was on, Brigadier-General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, who had crept up to the scene wanting to teach the public assembled a lesson, ordered 90 soldiers he had brought with him to the venue to open fire on the crowd.
    • Many tried in vain to scale the walls to escape. Many jumped into the well located inside the park.
  • Response of the Indians:
    • This tragedy came as a rude shock to Indians and totally destroyed their faith in the British system of justice.
    • National leaders condemned the act and Dyer unequivocally.
    • Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in his letter of protest renounced the knighthood conferred on him, condemning the brutal act of Britishers.
    • In protest against the massacre and the British failure to give due justice to the victims, Gandhiji relinquished his title ‘Kaiser-e-hind’ bestowed on him by the British for his services during the Boer War in South Africa.
    • In December 1919, the congress session was held at Amritsar. It was attended by a large number of people, including peasants.
  • British and Government of India Response:
    • Gen Dyer was appreciated by many in Britain and the British in India although some people in the British government were quick to criticize it.
    • The massacre had been a calculated act and Dyer declared with pride that he had done it to produce ‘moral effect’ on the people and that he had made up his mind that he would shoot down all men if they were going to continue the meeting.
    • The government set up the Hunter Commission to inquire into the massacre. Although the commission condemned the act by Dyer, it did not impose any disciplinary action against him.
    • He was relieved of his duties in the army in 1920.
    • A British newspaper called it as one of the bloody massacres of modern history.
  • One of the worst acts of violence:
    • Large gathering of 15,000-20,000 people with a majority of Sikhs came together to celebrate the Punjabi harvest festival of Baisakhi in this garden.
    • They had also gathered to revolt against the repressive Rowlatt Act that provided for stricter control of the press, arrests without warrant and indefinite detention without trial.
    • The people were unarmed and British surrounded them and opened fire brutally.
    • Even after that British was not empathetic but responded with brutal repression in the following ways.
    • Seeking to humiliate and terrorize people, Satyagrahis were forced to rub their noses on the ground.
    • They were forced to crawl on the streets, and do salaam (salute) to all sahibs.
    • People were flogged and villages (around Gujranwala in Punjab) were bombed.
    • For Indians this added the fuel to fire and national movement was taken forward more intensively
    • Leaders heavily criticized the government with Tagore renouncing his knighthood as protest.
    • The whole nation came together protesting against British so this incident brought unity to India which was essential for the freedom movement.
  • Turning point in Indian national movement:
    • By the end of the 19th century, British rule, in India as well as across the globe, had gained a certain legitimacy even in the eyes of the enslaved public.
    • Till then, most Indians had reconciled with the progressive nature of the colonial rule.
    • Jallianwala Bagh shattered the faith that the people had in the British sense of justice and fairness.
    • To most Indians, the massacre of the unarmed was a betrayal of the trust that they had placed on the British to rule them wisely, justly and with fairness.
    • In the eyes of the Indian, the just, fair and liberal British suddenly turned into a ruthless, bloodthirsty tyrant who couldn’t be trusted. Jallianwala Bagh revealed the evil that resided in the ‘enlightened’ empire.
    • Since then, it was a slow but sure downward slide for British rule in India. It was on this sense of betrayal that Gandhi built his mass movement, which put a premium on breaking the laws made by the rulers.
    • As the people began to willfully break the laws made by the state, the state itself became illegitimate. Now people actively started demanding for purna swaraj

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations.

3. India gave a calculated and adequate response to the ongoing skirmish with China in Ladakh but it needs to be wary of non-conventional military tactics that China can resort to. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

There is no inevitability of war but the Ladakh standoff is unlikely to end soon. China has faced setbacks and that is unacceptable for a superpower in the making. It may resort to unconventional warfare.

Key Demand of the question:

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 unconventional warfare tactics in 21st century.

Body:

In the first part, write about how the Ladakh Standoff did not materialize to coerce India. With changing contours in America, greater involvement if U.S in Indo-pacfic and US strategy towards containment of China, the China probably took undertook the Ladakh standoff as limited coercion and attempted moral ascendancy. But India’s response for adequate, calculated and it stood firm.

Mention the various unconventional strategies used by china that spur low-intensity conflict that does not cross the threshold of war, artfully taking advantage of the ambiguity in international law as they relate to such actions and activities. With the world growing increasingly inter-connected, and our reliance on internet architecture only surging, disrupting, damaging or dismantling an enemy’s capabilities through combinations of economic manipulation, disinformation and propaganda campaigns and the use of proxy groups and insurgency action, can prove to be crucial cogs in an overarching strategic military strategy.

Mention steps that India can take to enhance its security and maintain its strategic interests.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

An annual report from the U.S. Department of Defense describes Chinese leaders’ use of tactics short of armed conflict to further the country’s objectives, citing border conflicts with India like Ladakh and Bhutan among the examples.

Body:

  • Galwan Valley issue:
    • The valley refers to the land that sits between steep mountains that buffet the Galwan river
    • The River has its source in Aksai Chin, on China’s side of the LAC, and it flows from the east to Ladakh, where it meets the Shyok River on India’s side of the LAC.
    • The valley is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east, which is currently controlled by China as part of its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
    • At its western end are the Shyok River and the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road. Its eastern mouth lies not far from China’s vital Xinjiang Tibet road, now called the G219 highway.
    • Ladakh Standoff did not materialize to coerce India.
    • With changing contours in America, greater involvement if U.S in Indo-pacific and US strategy towards containment of China, the China probably took undertook the Ladakh standoff as limited coercion and attempted moral ascendancy.
    • But India’s response for adequate, calculated and it stood firm

galwan_valley

lac

  • “The side-principal rule” of ancient Chinese warfare, which proposes avoiding a frontal collision with an enemy’s powerful sword at his point of strength, but rather using one’s sword to cut into the warrior’s exposed side— “to cut things apart without one’s sword getting damaged”.
  • They acknowledge that fomenting terror is the most obvious tool of unconventional warfare, but also list many other forms of a new domination strategy:
    • Economic aid (for instance, the Belt and Road Initiative that drags countries into a debt trap)
    • Smuggling (by one estimate, 80% of the world’s counterfeits—a $1.8 trillion industry—are produced in China)
    • Cultural (the hundreds of Confucius Institutes set up in universities across the world)
    • Media and fabrication (manipulating foreign media by influencing journalists and opinion makers through cash and kind, and providing media outlets revenue through advertisements)
    • International law (China lobbied for more than a decade to become a member of the World Trade Organization, and after having achieved that, it has been subverting and ignoring its rules)
    • Provoking armed conflict
      • China calibrates its coercive activities to fall below the threshold of provoking conflict with the United States, its allies and partners, or others in the Indo-Pacific region.
      • It can notably include operations in which the PLA uses coercive threats and/or violence below the level of armed conflict against states and other actors to safeguard its expansionism.
      • These tactics are particularly evident in China’s pursuit of its territorial and maritime claims in the South and East China Seas as well as along its border with India and Bhutan.
    • Neo-imperialist tools
      • China also employs non-military tools coercively, including economic tools during periods of political tensions with countries that China accuses of harming its national interests.
      • The Belt and Road Initiative is leading to a greater overseas military presence for China in the guise to protect its economic interests.
    • Multilateralism as a strategic messaging tool
      • The report says that China uses multilateral forums and international organizations to generate new opportunities to expand its influence, strengthen its political influence.
      • It promotes strategic messaging that portrays China as a responsible global actor, advances its development interests, and limit outside interference in and criticism of its initiatives.
      • The Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS) grouping and Shanghai Cooperation Organization are among those cited as examples of this alleged phenomenon.
    • What should India’s response be to the new emerging situation?
      • Strategic Autonomy
      • Building and Strengthening National Capabilities: It is essential that we presently concentrate our effort on strengthening ourselves, consolidating our periphery and on external balancing. Building our own capacity in every aspect of hard and soft power is essential
      • Domestic Cohesion
      • Periphery Consolidation: we need to consolidate our periphery and ensure that it cannot be used against us.
      • External Balancing: We must simultaneously work with other powers to ensure that our region stays multi-polar and that China behaves responsibly.

Conclusion:

It is imperative that as our brave soldiers face Chinese forces on the highest battleground on earth, our leaders also examine how Beijing’s non-military strategies may have created fifth columnists within the country, working surreptitiously for China’s interests and against India’s.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. As we sight springshoots in the economy, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its monetary policy must be planning for a non-disruptive exit out of the easy money regime. Analyze the challenges and the dilemmas that the RBI faces in this regard. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) embarked on an extraordinary expansionary policy to manage the financial pressures unleashed by COVID-19. It slashed policy interest rates aggressively, flooded the market with an unprecedented amount of liquidity and instituted a slew of measures for targeted assistance to especially distressed sectors. Now it faces consequences and dilemmas arising from those measures.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly enumerate the steps taken by the central bank in its monetary policy in the wake of Covid-19.

Body:

Reason as to why those steps were needed – in order to put economy back to the growth trajectory (achieve a V shaped recovery), addressing the liquidity crunch, revival of demand, preventing further job losses, etc.

Now analyses the impact of the above measures undertaken by the RBI which poses certain challenges and dilemmas to the central Bank. The dilemma between restraining inflation and supporting the recovery, uneven and unequal recovery between large and small firms, aggravated unemployment problem, low interest rates at a time of high inflation affecting savings, rupee appreciation concerns and withdrawing the ‘excess’ liquidity in good time etc.

Suggest measures that the central bank has to take to address the same in a non-disruptive manner.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The RBI’s abilities to balance the inflation-growth equation would be tested with the Indian economy recovering and the need to ease the expansionary monetary policy.

Body:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has crippled economies world over, with India being no exception.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) resorted to an expansionary monetary policy to make way for credit creation and dispersal.
  • As a part of such a policy, the RBI slashed policy interest rates aggressively, creating conditions of a market with high liquidity availability and instituted a slew of measures for targeted assistance to especially distressed sectors.
  • Must be a deliberative process
    • The economy has appeared to have been on a recovery mode, with better second-quarter performance than the first quarter and also the second quarter seeing an expansion in the manufacturing output.
    • There has been optimism expressed by several economists who have talked of a ‘V-shaped recovery’ and have predicted an improved performance in the rest of the fiscal year.
    • The RBI must be devising a strategy for a gradual easing of the expansionary policy. The role of a central bank comes under the microscope when a country is undergoing a tough financial crisis.
    • Crisis management is one of the responsibilities of RBI, like most central banks across the world. In this scenario, RBI’s expansionary policy to resuscitate the economy that’s struggling post the pandemic, cannot be seen as a strategy without a due-date.
    • Reversing a crisis-induced expansionary policy has to be a deliberative process, care has to be given to ensure that its timing and sequencing are not disruptive. The lessons from the global financial crisis have taught us that any knee-jerk reaction on the exit-path can undo a lot of hard work done until then.
  • Challenges and dilemmas:
    • To manage the tension between restraining inflation and supporting the recovery.
    • This is a policy dilemma even when the macroeconomic situation is benign, the pandemic has made the dilemma much sharper.
    • Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) review shows Inflation remained above the RBI’s target band for the past several months, and according to the RBI’s own estimates, is expected to remain above the band for the next several months.
    • The MPC expects inflation to soften on its own in the weeks ahead as supply chains, disrupted by the lockdown, normalize, and the bumper winter crop comes into the market.
    • Issue faced by RBI Transmission of Monetary Policy:
      • Inflexible Cost of Funds.
      • Policy Rates not linked to Market.
      • High Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)
      • Four Balance Sheet Problems.
      • Monetary Policy Versus Fiscal Policy.
      • Adoption to Multi-Indicator Approach.
      • Linking Cost of Funds with Market.
      • Coordination Between Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy
    • Opportunities / solution:
      • Inflation and revival:
        • Persistent high inflation expectations would result in food inflation getting more generalised. Core inflation could firm up because of rising input price.
          • Solution: balance approach between food inflation and core inflation.
        • ‘Excessive margins’ among the factors cited by the MPC as one of the causes of high inflation, may not disappear if firms, regaining pricing power amid demand recovery, raise prices to mend their balance sheets.
          • Solution: government initiate public private investment.
        • Equally, there are concerns that the recovery, for all the positive signals, is still fragile.
          • Solution: Rebate in GST and tax to industry and farms.
        • There is heightened concern about an aggravated unemployment problem caused by big firms retrenching labour to cut costs.
          • Solution: Revive MSME and private sector, inflow FDI and Make in India.
        • Plight of savers:
          • Quite apart from the upside risks to inflation and downside risks to growth, the RBI should also be concerned about the plight of savers who are being short changed by low interest rates at a time of high inflation.
            • Solution: Normalise the policy rates, repo rate and withdraw the ‘excess’ liquidity in good time.
          • Market reactions:
            • RBI seeks to guard financial stability by normalising liquidity, it will have to contend with possible market tantrums.
              • Solution: RBI will have to manage its communication as carefully as it does the liquidity withdrawal.
            • Financial stability:
              • The current account surplus this year together with massive capital flows has meant a surfeit of dollars in the system putting upward pressure on the rupee which is already overvalued in real terms.
              • The RBI has absorbed nearly $90 billion this fiscal year to prevent exchange rate appreciation and to maintain the competitiveness of the rupee.
                • Solution:
                  • Invest in government bond (T -Bond), overcome NPA and eases market through loan and investment.
                  • RBI will increase the attractiveness of government securities for banks. They are likely to opt for a safer option and reduce the level of lending to industry.
                  • In order to be successful in managing current account by attracting foreign inflows when the industrial sector is far from buoyant and capital markets are faltering, it requires high degree of dexterity in managing growth and risk perception of investors.
                • Way forward:
                  • Without structural reforms the above issues cannot be addressed.
                  • Coordination between Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy Separating debt management from monetary management in order to make the central bank more independent would be a good move.
                  • The answer lies in the fragile state of the Centre’s finances, and its control over interest, pension and subsidy expenses

Conclusion

The RBI is confronted with a classic case of ‘the impossible trinity’ of keeping doors open for capital flows while simultaneously maintaining a stable exchange rate and restraining inflation. Maintaining a policy balance across all three conflicting objectives can be tricky. It is better to be rough right, as Keynes said, than be precisely wrong. That should be the guiding principle for RBI as it navigates its way out of the crisis driven easy money policy.

 

Topic:  indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. The shift to electric vehicles is not only economically and environmentally viable but has potential to bring about a change in India’s foreign policy. Examine the measures taken by India so far in order to promote the progression towards electric vehicles. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

India is now in the race for the electric vehicles as they have plethora of advantages over fossil fuel based vehicles and this article captures the same.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of shifting to electric vehicles on the environment, economy and foreign policy and also to examine India’s preparedness and measures taken so far to achieve the transition to electric vehicles.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by describing the electric vehicles (EV) technology vis-à-vis fossil fuel based vehicles.

Body:

Mention the impact the EV can have on India economically in terms of reducing dependence on crude oil and reduced import bill and improved domestic energy independence.

Write about the environmental benefits of shift to EV – Give facts and figures relation to vehicular emission in India, the impact of it and how shifting to EV can be environmentally advantageous as well as sustainable in the long run.

Mention as to how there can be a potential shift in the foreign policy with more progression in EV, as we look beyond West Asia and towards Latin America.

Examine the various measures taken in this regard so far such as FAME-I, FAME-II, Developing domestic battery manufacturing capacity, mining for Lithium and Cobalt etc.

Suggest further steps need in this regard.

Introduction:

An electric vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion.

An electric vehicle may be powered through self-contained battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity.

Body:

Need for EVs in India

  1. Climate change: India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
  2. Rapid urbanization: According to a recent study by WHO, India is home to 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world. EVs will help in tackling this problem by reducing local concentrations of pollutants in cities.
  3. Energy security: India imports oil to cover over 80 percent of its transport fuel.
  4. Innovation: EVs manufacturing capacity will promote global scale and competitiveness.
  5. Employment: Promotion of EVs will facilitate employment growth in a sun-rise sector.
  6. Clean and Low carbon Energy: Cost reduction from better electricity generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon and inexpensive grids.
  7. Cutting edge Battery Technology: Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging and reduced battery degradation from charging.

Infrastructure’s need:

  1. There is a strong believe that electric infrastructure will have a massive scale going forward.
  2. In fact, Ather has more than 30 charging stations in Bengaluru while the other companies in this space are yet to foray into support infrastructure.
  3. As of today, there are only 250 charging stations in the country and they mostly catering to three-wheelers. To make this transition viable, infrastructure is a key factor.
  4. SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) the nodal body for Indian automobile industry reports that the country currently sells close to 750,000 electric vehicles a year, a majority of these are three wheelers, which sold 6,30,000 units, with 1,26,000 of these three-wheelers.
  5. A longer-term policy priority has to be the setting up of lithium battery production and solar charging infrastructure of a scale that matches the ambition. The Centre has accepted some of the demands of the auto industry to popularize EVs.
  6. The government should provide incentives for CNG vehicles and should also come out with a scrappage plan for vehicles to incentivize customers to buy new vehicles.

Government Initiatives

  1. Government has set a target of electric vehicles making up 30 % of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030 from less than 1% today.
  2. To build a sustainable EV ecosystem initiative like – National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched by India.
  3. NEMMP: It was launched in 2013 with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
  4. FAME: FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] was launched in 2015 with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem. The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e., Technology Development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
  5. The government aims to see 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020.
  6. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India Scheme) for improving electric mobility in India.
  7. The GST reduction for electric vehicles from 12% to 5%.
  8. The Union power ministry categorized charging of batteries as a service, which will help charging stations operate without licenses.
  9. Implementation of smart cities would also boost the growth of electric vehicle.

Challenges for EV Industry in India

  1. Lack of a stable policy for EV production: An uncertain policy environment and the lack of supporting infrastructure are major roadblocks.
  2. Technological challenges: India is technologically deficient in the production of electronics that form the backbone of EV industry, such as batteries, semiconductors, controllers, etc.
  3. Lack of associated infrastructural support: The lack of clarity over AC versus DC charging stations, grid stability and range anxiety (fear that battery will soon run out of power) are other factors that hinder the growth of EV industry.
  4. Lack of availability of materials for domestic production: India is dependent on countries like Japan and China for the import of lithium-ion batteries. Local production of inputs for EVs is at just about 35% of total input production.
  5. Lack of skilled workers: EVs have higher servicing costs and higher levels of skills is needed for servicing. India lacks dedicated training courses for such skill development.
  6. The Indian electric vehicle (EV) market currently has one of the lowest penetration rates in the world.
  7. Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain.
  8. Affordability of e-vehicles (EVs) and the range they can cover on a single battery charge.
  9. The Indian EV industry has been hit hard due to rupee’s dramatic depreciation in recent months.
  10. The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (Fame) framework has been extended repeatedly.
  11. High rate of GST on EVs when government is trying to promote EVs.
  12. Lack of attention on building charging infrastructure.

Way Forward:

  1. For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  2. Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  3. Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  4. A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  5. Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
  6. Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  7. Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  8. Private investment in battery manufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  9. India is highly dependent on thermal sources, which account for about 65% of current capacity. As EV adoption increases, so should the contribution of renewables.
  10. Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehicles so that investments can be planned.
  11. Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  12. Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spaces for EVs.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics;

6. Buddhist teachings can be a good lesson in developing ethics related to use and application of Artificial Intelligence. Comment. (150 words)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

Using Buddhist teachings and philosophy suggesting a way to develop Buddhist ethics.

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:

Begin by elaborating the era of Artificial Intelligence and need for developing ethics related to its use.

Body:

Mention how Buddhist teachings can show us the way in the developing ethics for the use and application of AI based solutions.

Buddhism proposes a way of thinking about ethics based on the assumption that all sentient beings want to avoid pain. Thus, the Buddha teaches that an action is good if it leads to freedom from suffering.

The implication of this teaching for artificial intelligence is that any ethical use of AI must strive to decrease pain and suffering.

Mention the Do No Harm principle, Compassion, Justice and Accountability etc which the Buddhist philosophy emphasis on can be used to develop ethics for AI.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by stressing on other facets that are needed to have ethics in AI.

Introduction:

The explosive growth of artificial intelligence has fostered hope that it will help us solve many of the world’s most intractable problems. However, there’s also much concern about the power of AI, and growing agreement that its use should be guided to avoid infringing upon our rights.

Body:

People both in the East and the West need to share their ideas and consider those from others to enrich their own perspectives. Because the development and use of AI spans the entire globe, the way we think about it should be informed by all the major intellectual traditions.

Insights derived from Buddhist teaching could benefit anyone working on AI ethics anywhere in the world, and not only in traditionally Buddhist cultures (which are mostly in the East and primarily in Southeast Asia).

Buddhism proposes a way of thinking about ethics based on the assumption that all sentient beings want to avoid pain. Thus, the Buddha teaches that an action is good if it leads to freedom from suffering.

The implication of this teaching for artificial intelligence is that any ethical use of AI must strive to decrease pain and suffering. In other words, for example, facial recognition technology should be used only if it can be shown to reduce suffering or promote well-being. Moreover, the goal should be to reduce suffering for everyone—not just those who directly interact with AI.

A Buddhist-inspired AI ethics would also understand that living by these principles of not harming people requires self-cultivation. This means that those who are involved with AI should continuously train themselves to get closer to the goal of totally eliminating suffering. Attaining the goal is not so important; what is important is that they undertake the practice to attain it. It’s the practice that counts.

Designers and programmers should practice by recognizing this goal and laying out specific steps their work would take in order for their product to embody the ideal. That is, the AI they produce must be aimed at helping the public to eliminate suffering and promote well-being.

For any of this to be possible, companies and government agencies that develop or use AI must be accountable to the public. Accountability is also a Buddhist teaching, and in the context of AI ethics it requires effective legal and political mechanisms as well as judicial independence. These components are essential in order for any AI ethics guideline to work as intended.

Another key concept in Buddhism is compassion, or the desire and commitment to eliminate suffering in others. Compassion, too, requires self-cultivation, and it means that harmful acts such as wielding one’s power to repress others have no place in Buddhist ethics. One does not have to be a monk to practice Buddhist ethics, but one must practice self-cultivation and compassion in daily life.

We can see that values promoted by Buddhism—including accountability, justice, and compassion—are mostly the same as those found in other ethical traditions. This is to be expected; we are all human beings, after all. The difference is that Buddhism argues for these values in a different way and places perhaps a greater emphasis on self-cultivation.

Conclusion:

Buddhism has much to offer anyone thinking about the ethical use of technology, including those interested in AI. I believe the same is also true of many other non-Western value systems. AI ethics guidelines should draw on the rich diversity of thought from the world’s many cultures to reflect a wider variety of traditions and ideas about how to approach ethical problems. The technology’s future will only be brighter for it.

 

Topic:  ethics – in private and public relationships;

7. As an administrator, ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Elucidate. (150 words)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

Define ethics in respect to administration and mention the need to knowing the distinction between your powerful rights and the right thing to do.

Body:

From the perspective of an administrator further elaborate on the quote and as to why it is imperative for the administrator to do the right thing. Use examples to substantiate your point.

Bring out the various facets of integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections that an administrator has to consider before taking any actions.

Mention certain principle, theories and benchmarks one can to take the right decision especially when faced with an ethical dilemma. Eg: Gandhi’s Talisman. Etc.

Conclusion:

Complete by summarizing the need for doing the right thing especially for those who are in power.

Introduction:

Ethics goes beyond doing what is legally right and addresses proper behaviour and expectations for those tasked with the responsibility of planning communities in their roles as public officials representing the public good.

Body:

Ethics is the body of principles used to decide what behaviors are right, good and proper. Such principles (ethics) do not always dictate a single “moral” course of action, but provide a means of evaluating and deciding among competing options.

While the law provides clear responsibilities and limits to officials and other individuals responsible for the planning of communities, there is a great deal of flexibility where individuals or groups must make judgment decisions in the best interests of their community, and being guided by strong ethical principles ensures that the best decisions are being made.

People often have different and opposing ethical standards. Ethics are developed from an individual or group’s beliefs, values and morals, which vary from person-to-person and can often be in direct conflict and opposition to another’s.

There are people who believe if something is legal then it’s ethical. However it is not so. Racial discrimination was legal once but was never ethical.

Ethics is about putting principles into action. Consistency between what we say we value and what our actions say we value is a matter of integrity. Ethics is also about self-restraint, i.e., what we should not do:

  1. Not doing what you have the power to do. An act isn’t proper simply because it is permissible or you can get away with it.
  2. Not doing what you have the right to do. There is a big difference between what you have the right to do and what is right to do.
  3. Not doing what you want to do. In the well-worn turn of phrase, an ethical person often chooses to do more than the law requires and less than the law allows.

Ethics is the rules for deciding correct conduct. Let’s look at an example of making a decision ethically. You want to sit up in your neighbor’s apple tree with a salt shaker and eat his apples. But you decide to put aside your selfish interest, and to not do what you want and have the power to do for the sake of respecting your neighbor’s right to enjoy or benefit from his own apples. You stay out of your neighbor’s tree. You have acted ethically.

Conclusion:

As an administrator, you have the power and right to help your friend to get a job through your recommendation, but you choose not to do it to uphold merit-based selection and to provide a fair playing ground to all the applicants. You don’t favor your friend. You have acted ethically


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