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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 2 February 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. Plassey and Buxar breached the gates and set the stage for the British conquest of India. Critically Comment. (250 words)

Reference: A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum Publishers

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the outcomes of Battle of Plassey and Battle of Buxar and to determine to the extent the facilitated the conquest of India.

Directive:

Critically comment – 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 ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention about the Battle of Plassey and Battle of Buxar – emphasizing on its impact.

Body:

In detail, outline the major outcomes of Battle of Plassey and mention how it played a part in setting the stage for foundations of British Indian Empire. Foot in the door, riches of Bengal, role of Plassey in victory in third Carnatic War.

Next, outline the major impact of Buxar and mention how it played a part in setting the stage for foundations of British Indian Empire. Defeat the major powers, making East India Company as prominent political entity and territorial increase etc.

Finally, examine to the extent the battles facilitated the conquest of India by British. Presence of important powers like Mysore, Marathas and Punjab, still a relatively new entrant to Indian politics, commercial nature of the company etc.

Conclusion:

Pass a balanced judgement to the extent Plassey and Buxar played in the formation of British Indian Empire.

Introduction:

The Battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764) are watershed moments in Modern Indian history as they marked the beginning on the rise of British colonial rule in India. They had far-reaching implications in the consolidation of the British Empire in India. It influenced the politico-economic conditions of Bengal in particular and of India in general.

Body:

Background:

In 1757, the Battle of Plassey was fought by the forces of Siraj Ud Daulah (Nawab of Bengal) with the support of French support troops against the troops of the British East India Company, led by Robert Clive. Victory at Plassey had enabled the East India company to establish a puppet Nawab on the throne of Bengal. The 1764 Battle of Buxar was more decisive in result than the Battle of Plassey, with even more significant consequences.

Outcome and consequences of Battle of Plassey:

  • From the military point of view, the Battle of Plassey was not an important engagement. However, what followed thereafter is often referred to as the “Plassey plunder”.
  • Immediately after the war, the English army and navy each received the hefty sums of money.
  • Prior to 1757, the English trade in Bengal was largely financed through import of bullion from England, but after Plassey not only bullion import stopped but bullion was exported from Bengal to China and other parts of India, which gave a competitive advantage to the English company over its European rivals.
  • Company officials made personal fortunes not only through direct extortion but also through private trade.
  • The Battle of Plassey resulted at the end of the French forces and was a major turning point in modern Indian history that led to the consolidation of the British rule in India.
  • The British became the paramount European power in Bengal.

Battle of Buxar: Consequences:

  • The defeat of the Great Mughal House was very significant and it stamped the British troops as one of the potent forces of the Indian subcontinent.
  • The Treaty of Allahabad formally gave the British East India Company the right to exact revenue from the eastern province of Bengal which turned the economic fortune of the company.
    • Robert Clive set up the infamous dual system of administration in Bengal wherein the Company acquired the real power, while the responsibility of administration rested on the Nawab of Bengal.
    • Under the ‘dual’ or double government system, the Company got both the Diwani (revenue) and nizamat (civil administration) functions of Bengal.
    • Thus virtual power went into the hands of Britishers without any responsibility which created confusions, anarchy and economic loot of India began.
  • The British victory at buxar ensured that there were no significant forces left to challenge its position in the eastern part of the subcontinent.
  • The defeat of the Nawab of Awadh created a buffer state which effectively created a wall between the Britishers and the notorious Marathas.
  • Through the Residents, the Company officials began interfering in the internal affairs of Indian states.

Conclusion:

If the Battle of Plassey had made the English a powerful factor in the politics of Bengal, the victory of Buxar made them a great power of North India and contenders for the supremacy of the whole country. The two battles resulted in strong foothold of British as not only economic power but also political power in India.

 

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

2. The course of the Second World War as well as it outcomes hastened the demise of the British Empire in India. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: A Brief History of Modern India by Spectrum Publishers

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how the Second World War played a part in India’s independence.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Begin by giving context regarding the Second World War and India’s Struggle for Independence.

Body:

In the first part of the body, Mention about the response of Indian nationalists to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Next, mention the impact of World War-II on the India’s national movement. Weakening of British Empire, Pressure from Allies, Quit India movement, RIN Mutiny etc.

Conclusion:

Summarize the role of Second World War in India’s independence.

Introduction:

The Second World War was unequivocally the most pivotal global event in 20th-century history. The British decision to grant independence to India arose primarily out of necessity. Gandhi’s momentum reached a peak during World War II and consequently caused great strain on Britain. Eventually, it led to demise of the British empire in India.

Body

Immense pressure from within India were complemented by two major external factors: Britain’s economic and human resources were exasperated by the War effort. Each of these factors was important in pushing Britain to the realization that it was no longer realistic for them to prolong their control of India.

Post war consequences and demise of British empire

  • The end of the War resulted in a change in balance of global power— the UK was no More a power while the USA and USSR emerged as superpowers, both of which favoured freedom for India.
  • The new Labour Government was more sympathetic to Indian demands.
  • Throughout Europe, there was a wave of socialist radical governments.
  • British soldiers were weary and tired and the British economy lay shattered.
  • There was an anti-imperialist wave in South-East Asia—in Vietnam and Indonesia—resisting efforts to replant French and Dutch rule.
  • Officials feared another Congress revolt, a revival of 1942 situation but much more dangerous because of a likely combination of attacks on communications, agrarian revolts, labour trouble, army disaffection joined by government officials and the police in the presence of INA men with some military experience.
  • Elections were inevitable once the war ended since the last elections had been, held in 1934 for the centre and in 1937 for the provinces.
  • US President Franklin Roosevelt who persuaded Churchill to commit to the agreement known as the Atlantic Charter – the terms of which effectively made it impossible for Britain to return to its imperial status quo after the war – and thereby triggered the global wave of 20th-century decolonisation, starting with Indian independence.

World War and question of India’s Independence

  • The success of nationalist forces in the struggle for hegemony was fairly evident by the end of the War.
  • Nationalism had penetrated into hitherto untouched sections and areas.
  • There was a demonstration among the bureaucracy and the loyalist sections, because the paucity of ICS recruits and a policy of Indianisation had ended the British domination of the ICS as early as the First World War and by 1939, there existed British-Indian parity.
  • The long war had caused weariness and economic worries. Now only a depleted, war weary bureaucracy battered by 1942 events remained.
  • The British strategy of conciliation and repression had its limitations and contradiction.
    • When non-violent resistance was repressed with force, the naked force behind the Government stood exposed, while if the Government did not clamp down on “sedition” or made offers for truce, it was seen to be unable to wield authority, and its prestige suffered;
    • Efforts to woo the Congress dismayed the loyalists.
  • After Cripps’ Offer there was little left to offer for conciliation except full freedom.

Conclusion

British Empire was war torn and there was a clear shift in geopolitics. Pax-Britannica was replaced by Superpower rivalry between USA and USSR. Britain was no longer in the position to maintain its colonies under the pressure of these nations. Moreover, its authority had eroded sue to sustained freedom struggle and especially 1942 movement which was the final straw. Thus, World War 2 fastened the process of decolonization all over the world.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Issues relating to poverty and hunger

3. Urgent steps are required to address the widening inequalities exacerbated by the Pandemic. Examine in the light of recommendations of Economic Survey 2021. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Economic Survey seems to privilege wealth creation over reduction of income disparity.

Key Demand of the question:

To argue for the steps needed to reduce the growing inequality.

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:

Begin by giving context about the growing in equalities in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Body:

Cite relevant statistics regarding the widening inequalities and mentions the reasons for it.

Write about the Economic Survey and its take on this topic. Analyze the various facets of it in employment, health, economic recovery, rural joblessness, and migrant workers.

 Argue growth should not prioritized over inequality in tackling poverty and suggest steps to achieve the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

As well as a public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on poverty levels and inequality. Women, alongside the poor, elderly, disabled and migrant populations, have borne the brunt of the fallout from the pandemic. The economic survey makes unique observations pertaining to India with regard to inequality and poverty.

Body

Widening Inequalities and pandemic

  • Education: The most vulnerable suffered the most on every front. For instance, in education, there was increased the drop-out rate among the children of the poor.
    • Digital Divide was high as they had the least access to digital networks – only 4 per cent of rural households had a computer, and only 15 per cent had access to an internet connection.
  • Gender inequality: While gender gaps in education and nutrition have been closing over time the disadvantaged position of women is very visible in the labour market. Labour force participation of women is staggering around 3%.
  • Health: India has the world’s second-largest cumulative number of Covid-19 positive cases and globally, the poor, marginalised and vulnerable communities have higher rates of Covid-19 prevalence.
    • The spread of disease was swift among poor communities.
    • Only 6% of the poorest 20% households had access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93% of the top 20% households in India.
  • Rich vs Poor: The 40-50 million seasonal migrant workers, typically engaged working in construction sites, factories etc. were particularly distressed.

Recommendations by Economic Survey 2021

Economic survey notes the difference between inequality and poverty. Inequality refers to the degree of dispersion in the distribution of assets, income or consumption. Poverty refers to the assets, income or consumption of those at the bottom of the distribution

  • Cushioning the vulnerable in the lockdown and boosting consumption and investment while unlocking, mindful of fiscal repercussions and entailing debt sustainability.
  • India should pay more attention to economic growth as a primary means of decreasing poverty rather than expending more resources on curtailing inequality as redistribution will be better achieved if the size of the pie increases, the economic survey has said.
    • Economic growth has a greater impact on poverty alleviation than inequality.
  • The survey says that unlike advanced economies, in India economic growth and inequality “converge” in terms of their effects on socio-economic indicators.
  • Therefore, given India’s stage of development, India must continue to focus on growth to lift the poor out of poverty by expanding the overall pie. In other words, redistribution in a developing economy is feasible only if the size of the economic pie grows.
  • Finally, National Health Mission played a critical role in mitigating inequity as the access of the poorest to pre-natal/post-natal care and institutional deliveries increased significantly. Economic Survey suggests that Ayushmaan Bharat must become the key program to reduce inequality in access to healthcare.

Conclusion

Reducing inequalities is very important but it should be a medium-term target. Between growth and distribution, India must get the sequencing right. According to Oxfam if India stops inequality from rising further, it could end extreme poverty for 90 million people by 2019. If it goes further and reduces inequality by 36%, it could virtually eliminate extreme poverty. But as Economic Survey suggests, there is a clear convergence on growth and inequality in India and hence must focus on wealth creation.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Government Budgeting.

4. Enumerate the key Highlights of the Union Budget 2021-22. Given the lessons learnt during the pandemic, do you think the budget offers proper solutions to the issues faced in public health? Critically analyze. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a brave effort to make good use of the lessons learnt from the unprecedented global health crisis and ensuing economic setback to put lives and livelihoods back on track.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the important highlights of the budget to analyze if the budget offers proper solution to issues faced in the public health sector.

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:

Begin by giving the context and the announcement of Union Budget 2021-22.

Body:

In the first write about the key highlights of the budget – health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, and ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance.

Next, write about the major lessons learnt during the pandemic regarding the health sector. Overburdened, lack of doctors, unavailability of life saving devices, medicines, lack of R&D etc.

Write in detail about the proposals of the current budget in this regard and analyses their pros and cons. Mention if the allocation for vaccine overshadows the infrastructure aspect for health.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The Union Budget 2021-22, which has come at a time when India’s economy is reeling under the aftereffects of the Covid-19 induced lockdown, was presented by Union Finance Minister at Parliament. The first ever digital Union Budget proposals rest on six pillars: Health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, minimum government and maximum governance.

Body:

Key highlights of Union Budget 2021-22:

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • 2,23,846 crore outlay for Health and Wellbeing in BE 2021-22 as against Rs. 94,452 crores in BE2020-21 –an increase of 137%
  • Focus on strengthening three areas: Preventive, Curative and Wellbeing.
  • Vaccines: Rs. 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22
  • Health Systems: 64,180 crore outlay over 6 years for PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana–a new centrally sponsored scheme to be launched, in addition to NHM
  • Nutrition: Mission Poshan 2.0 to be launched
  • Operationalisation of 17 new public health units at points of entry
  • Modernising of existing health units at 32 airports, 15 seaports and land ports
  • Jal Jeevan Mission Urban aimed at better water supply nationwide
  • Strengthening of Urban Swachh Bharat Mission

 

  • Physical and Financial Capital and Infrastructure
  • Production Linked Incentive scheme (PLI):
    • 1.97 lakh crore in next 5 years for PLI schemes in 13 Sectors
    • To create and    nurture manufacturing global champions for    an Aatmanirbhar Bharat
    • To help manufacturing companies become an integral part of global supply chains, possess core competence and cutting-edge technology
  • Textiles:
    • Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) scheme, in addition to PLI: 7 Textile Parks to be established over 3 years
  • Infrastructure:
    • National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)expanded to 7,400 projects
    • Creation of institutional structures: Infrastructure Financing: Rs. 20,000 crores to set up and capitalise a Development Financial Institution(DFI)–to act as a provider, enabler and catalyst for infrastructure financing
    • Big thrust on monetizing assets: National Monetization Pipeline to be launched
    • Sharp Increase in Capital Budget: 5.54 lakh crore capital expenditure in BE  2021-22 –sharp increase of 34.5% allocated in BE 2020-21
    • National Rail Plan for India (2030): to create a „future ready‟ Railway system by 2030
    • Railways to monetise freight corridors
    • India to launch new vehicle scrapping policy
    • Proposes tax holiday for aircraft leasing firms in India
    • Vehicle scrapping policy to phase out old and unfit vehicles
  • Disinvestment and Strategic Sale:
    • 1,75,000 crore estimated receipts from disinvestment in BE 2020-21

 

  • Inclusive Development for Aspirational India:
  • Agriculture:
    • Ensured MSP at minimum 1.5 times the cost of production across all commodities
    • Agriculture infrastructure fund to be made available for APMCs for augmenting their infrastructure
    • 1,000 more Mandi to be integrated into the E-NAM market place
  • Fisheries:
    • Investments to develop modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres –both marine and inland
    • Five major fishing hubs, including Chennai, Kochi and Paradip, to be developed
    • A multipurpose seaweed park to be established in Tamil Nadu
  • Migrant Workers and Labourers:
    • One Nation One Ration Card scheme for beneficiaries to claim rations anywhere in the country-migrant workers to benefit the most
    • A portal to be launched to maintain information on gig workers and construction workers
    • Social security to be extended to gig and platform workers
    • Margin capital required for loans via Stand-up India scheme reduced from 25% to 15% for SCs, STs and women
  • Reinvigorating Human Capital
  • School Education:
    • 15,000 schools to be strengthened by implementing all NEP components. Shall act as exemplar schools in their regions for mentoring others
  • Higher Education:
    • Legislation to be introduced to setup Higher Education Commission of India as an umbrella body with 4 separate vehicles for standard-setting, accreditation, regulation, and funding
    • A Central University to come up in Ladakh
  • Innovation and R&D
  • As part of the Gaganyaan mission activities:
    • 4 Indian astronauts being trained on Generic Space Flight aspects, in Russia
    • First unmanned launch is slated for December 2021
  • 4,000 crores over five years for Deep Ocean Mission survey exploration and conservation of deep sea biodiversity
  • National Hydrogen Mission to be launched to generate hydrogen from green power sources
  • Minimum Government, Maximum Governance
  • Measures being undertaken to bring reforms in Tribunals to ensure speedy justice
  • National Commission for Allied Healthcare Professionals already introduced to ensure transparent and efficient regulation of the 56 allied healthcare professions
  • The National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill introduced for the same in nursing profession
  • Proposed Conciliation Mechanism with mandate for quick resolution of contractual disputes with CPSEs

Is healthcare spending in the budget sufficient?

Despite being one of the largest and fastest-growing in the world, expected to reach USD 133.44 billion by 2022 (IBEF report), India’s healthcare industry still needs to be strengthened manifold. As technological advancements in the healthcare space continue to influence trends internationally, with the beginning of the new decade, what the Budget 2020 delivers on the healthcare front can prove to be a catalyst for this at a national level. The allocation of additional funds, new reforms and the introduction of more targeted initiatives have the potential to make way for unprecedented developments in the sector.

  • Investment:
    • India ranks 184th out of 191 in terms of GDP% spend on healthcare, as per WHO.
    • At 85$ (approximately INR 6044), the average healthcare spend per person in India is amongst the lowest when compared to other countries.
    • At present, Government spending on the healthcare industry stands at 1.15% of the Gross Domestic.
    • As the Prime Minister has promised to double its public health spending to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025, the sector expects a higher allocation from the Government’s Budget 2020.
  • Government of India schemes:
    • There are promising new schemes introduced under the AB-PMJAY with approximately 10 crore Indian families who are currently under the scheme.
    • It has a potential of around 50 crore people who can come under its ambit and avail its benefits.
    • The Government should invest in increasing the number of hospitals by establishing more facilities under the Ayushman Bharat wing, which shall directly increase the budget for the sector.
    • There is a need for hospital footprint and illness coverage to be increased as well.
  • Taxation:
    • In order to help specialised services reach out widely to the masses, these healthcare services need to be brought to ‘zero-slab’ under the GST provisions.
    • This will help to make critical and quality healthcare equipment and facilities more accessible to the masses
  • Medical Devices and Equipment:
    • Price control on medical devices and reasonable adjustments to import duty structures on raw materials and medical equipment are some of the positive steps that have been undertaken to make healthcare more affordable and equitable.
    • This trend needs to be supported by a push for medical equipment and devices that are being built under the ‘Make in India’ campaign.
    • The Government must also offer more incentives for the research and development in the medical device sector in order to drive local manufacturing.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to strengthen the provisioning of healthcare services through public-private partnerships. While the healthcare segment has been a key focus area and part of country’s development plan through various comprehensive initiatives including Swachh Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, National Digital Health Mission and now ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’, the long-term response to the virus needs a significant part of budget allocation. The pandemic has ascertained that Health Research is a critical component for forging an effective healthcare response and it is also important for attaining SDG-3 goals.

 

Topic:  Government Budgeting.

5. What is Fiscal Deficit? What are the impacts of Fiscal Deficit on the economy? What are the ways to financing the Fiscal deficit? Suggest steps for fiscal consolidation in the light of the Union Budget proposals. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a brave effort to make good use of the lessons learnt from the unprecedented global health crisis and ensuing economic setback to put lives and livelihoods back on track.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about impact of the fiscal deficits on the economy, ways to finance a deficit and the suggest steps for fiscal consolidation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining Fiscal deficit.

Body:

In the first bring out the short and long term impact of Fiscal deficit. short-term boost in operations and profitability, encourage rent-seeking, stimulus spending, welfare, public good, infrastructure, war financing, and environmental protection. Negative impact like accumulate more debt, interest rates tend to go up, danger of rating agencies downgrading India’s credit rating, depreciation in the value of the rupee etc.

Next, mention ways to finance it. Deficit financing and monetisation of fiscal deficit, sale of government securities, such as Treasury bonds (T-bonds) etc.

In the light of breaching of the limits of FRBM act due to the emergency, suggest way to achieve fiscal consolidation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Fiscal Deficit is a term used to denote a deficit in government earnings during a financial year. A fiscal deficit occurs when the total expenditure of the government exceeds the total revenue (excluding borrowed funds). Fiscal deficit is “reflective of the total borrowing requirements of Government”. The government pegged the fiscal deficit for the year 2020-21 at 9.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Fiscal deficit for FY22 (2021-22) has been pegged at 6.8 per cent with a market borrowing of around Rs 12 lakh crore.

Body:

Fiscal Deficit:

  • The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed as fiscal deficit.
  • It is an indication of the total borrowings needed by the government.
  • Generally fiscal deficit takes place either due to revenue deficit or a major hike in capital expenditure.
  • Capital expenditure is incurred to create long-term assets such as factories, buildings and other development.

Significance of fiscal deficit:

  • In the economy, there is a limited pool of investible savings. These savings are used by financial institutions like banks to lend to private businesses (both big and small) and the governments (Centre and state).
  • If the fiscal deficit ratio is too high, it implies that there is a lesser amount of money left in the market for private entrepreneurs and businesses to borrow.
  • Lesser amount of this money, in turn, leads to higher rates of interest charged on such lending.
  • So, simply put, a higher fiscal deficit means higher borrowing by the government, which, in turn, mean higher interest rates in the economy.
  • A high fiscal deficit and higher interest rates would also mean that the efforts of the Reserve Bank of India to reduce interest rates are undone.

Impacts of Fiscal Deficit:

  • It can mean that the Government is spending money on unproductive programmes which do not increase economic productivity. (For example MNREGA, most of the money is eaten midway by the Sarpanch and Local officers.)
  • As government borrows from RBI which meets this demand by printing of more currency notes (called deficit financing), it results in circulation of more money. This may cause inflationary pressure in the economy.
  • When Government keeps borrowing and borrowing to fill up the fiscal deficit pothole, then bond yield will increase. It is not good because more and more of taxpayers’ money (i.e. Government ‘s incoming money) will go in repaying that bond interest rate rather than going into education or healthcare.
  • Government may be compelled to borrow to finance even interest payment leading to emergence of a vicious circle and debt trap.
  • Fiscal deficit “Crowds out” investment from private sector as Government borrows most of the cash.
  • Borrowing is in fact financial burden on future generation to pay loan and interest amount which retards growth of economy.

Strategies to Reduce Fiscal Deficit:

  • There is a need to implement NK Singh committee recommendations with respect to Fiscal deficit for a stable economy.
    • Suggested a fiscal deviation band of 0.5%.
    • This means that the government can deviate by 0.5% from the fiscal Deficit target if the economy is in slowdown.
    • The flexibility has been allowed for the government to create space for stimulus to pump-prime the economy.
  • On the other hand, when the economy is doing well, the deficit can be compressed by 0.5%.
  • A deficit is usually financed through borrowing from either the central bank of the country or raising money from capital markets by issuing different instruments like treasury bills and bonds.
  • A drastic reduction in expenditure on major subsidies. Reduction in expenditure on bonus, LTC, leaves encashment, etc. Austerity steps to curtail non-plan expenditure.
  • Tax base should be broadened and concessions and reduction in taxes should be curtailed. Tax evasion should be effectively checked. More emphasis on direct taxes to increase revenue. Restructuring and sale of shares in public sector units.
  • Famous economist John Maynard Keynes opined that deficits actually assist nations in climbing out of economic recessions.
  • However, fiscal conservatives believe that deficits should be avoided by the government which should be inclined towards a balanced budget policy.

Proposals of Budget 2021-22 for fiscal consolidation:

  • The Centre proposes to make amendments to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003, to reflect these changes to the fiscal consolidation roadmap.
  • The Centre hopes to return to the path of fiscal consolidation by higher tax buoyancy through improved compliance on the one hand, and increased monetisation of its assets, including Public Sector Enterprises and land, on the other hand.
  • Government proposes to augment the Contingency Fund of India from ₹500 crore to ₹30,000 crore.
  • This year’s fiscal deficit has been funded through government borrowings, multilateral borrowings, Small Saving Funds and short term borrowings.

Conclusion:

For better economic management and long term economic growth other factors and measures should be considered along with fiscal deficit. In the current scenario, the most important thing is to bring back confidence among consumers as well as businesses. This will help in fuelling the economic recovery.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6. Define attitude. What is the process through which attitudes are formed? Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

Question is based on the concept of ‘Attitude’ and the processes through which it is formed.

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:

Briefly define what you understand by attitude.

Body:

An attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavor. Attitude has three components: cognitive, affective and conative or behavioural. Explain these components in detail and quote examples as and when required to justify better.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

Attitude is pattern of behavior of individual towards other individuals or circumstances. This is shaped by various factors like familial values, values taught by teachers, societal values and autonomous determined values.

Attitudes are evaluations people make about objects, ideas, events, or other people. Attitudes can be positive or negative. Explicit attitudes are conscious beliefs that can guide decisions and behavior. Implicit attitudes are unconscious beliefs that can still influence decisions and behavior. For instance, if someone believes that smoking is unhealthy, she feels disgusted when people smoke around her, and avoids being in situations where people smoke.

Body:

The various ways in which attitudes are formed are:

Classical conditioning:

Classical conditioning is a form of attitude whereby a conditioned stimulus becomes associated with an unrelated unconditioned stimulus, in order to produce a behavioral response known as a conditioned response.

Examples of classical conditioning abound in everyday life. Imagine you have just finished your lunch and you are feeling satisfied. Then you see some sweet dish served on the adjoining table. This signals its taste in your mouth, and triggers the secretion of saliva. You feel like eating it. This is a conditioned response (CR).

Consumers often purchase new products that are associated with a favourably viewed brand name. Their favourable attitude towards the brand name is frequently the result of repeated satisfaction with other products produced by the same company. The brand name is the unconditioned stimulus that, through repetition and positive reinforcement results in a favourable attitude (the unconditioned response). The idea of family branding is based on this form of attitude learning.

Operant/instrumental conditioning:

 This type of conditioning was first investigated by B.F. Skinner. Skinner studied occurrence of voluntary responses when an organism operates on the environment. He called them operants. Operants are those behaviours or responses, which are emitted by animals and human beings voluntarily and are under their control. The term operant is used because the organism operates on the environment. Conditioning of operant behaviour is called operant conditioning.

Sometimes, attitudes follow the purchase & consumption of a product. A consumer may purchase a brand name product without having a prior attitude toward it because it is the only product of its kind available. Further consumers also make trial purchases of new brands from product categories in which they have little personal involvement. If they find the purchased brand to be satisfactory they are likely to develop a favourable attitude towards it.

Observational learning:

Earlier this form of attitude was called imitation. Bandura and his colleagues in a series of experimental studies investigated observational learning in detail. In this kind of learning, human beings learn social behaviours, therefore, it is sometimes called social learning. In many situations individuals do not know how to behave. They observe others and emulate their behaviour. This form of learning is called modelling.

 

Examples of observational learning abound in our social life. Fashion designers employ tall, pretty, and gracious young girls and tall, smart, and well-built young boys for popularising clothes of different designs and fabrics. People observe them on televised fashion shows and advertisements in magazines and newspapers. They imitate these models. Observing superiors and likeable persons and then emulating their behaviour in a novel social situation is a common experience.

 The Heritability Factor

Attitudes and other complex social behaviors may have a genetic component. Genetics have an indirect effect on our attitudes. Characteristics that are biologically based might predispose us to certain behaviors and attitudes. Biologically based characteristic affects how one thinks, feels, and acts.

Conclusion:

Neither the attitude nor the behavioral intent instrument, alone or together is effective in predicting the person’s actual behaviour if, it has not been designed carefully. Attitude is important because attitudes reflect past experience and shape future behaviour.

 

Topic:  accountability and ethical governance.

7. In government circles, truth-tellers are known as “whistleblowers,” but their role is immense, a single individual can become a powerful agent of change. Discuss. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role of whistleblowers in contemporary governance.

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 whistleblowers.

Body:

In the first write about the need for whistleblowers in the modern day governance and ethical issues involved. Whistleblowers help bring accountability, stability and justice when things go deeply wrong. These modern-day Davids v. Goliath have saved lives and institutions, not to mention huge amounts of tax payer’s money. Substantiate with examples.

Next, write about the need for their protection and recognizing their efforts.

Conclusion:

Suggest measures to ensure their protection.

Introduction:

A whistleblower is a person who comes forward and shares his/her knowledge on any wrongdoing which he/she thinks is happening in the whole organisation or in a specific department. A whistleblower could be an employee, contractor, or a supplier who becomes aware of any illegal activities. Personal Values and Organizational Culture are the Foundation of Whistle-blowing

A good civil servant is one who is kind, responsive, fair, has sense of duty, objective judgement skills with a hint of rebellion.

Body:

In the course of civil service, an officer is bound to face challenges of various types. One must find innovative solutions to such problems by working around the problems. However, when there are inevitable situations, it becomes necessary to whistleblow, albeit within the system.

Challenges in finding a solution from within the system:

  • Non-cooperation of peers
  • Inertia of status quo, the lack of incentive to accept change within the system
  • Pressure from politicians and other groups.
  • Threats of demotion and frequent transfers
  • lack of evidence in most of the cases renders his case weak

Merits of whistleblowing:

  • Exposing Unethical Behavior: When corporations and government agencies step over legal and ethical lines, whistle-blowers can make these practices public knowledge, which can lead to violators being held accountable.
  • Take care of things internally: Stronger whistleblower protection laws all over the world, such as in the EU and Australia, mean that if you do not listen to and act upon whistleblowing tips internally, people may decide to report externally, for example to the media, and are legally protected if they do so.
  • Reduce losses when misconduct occurs: Whistleblowing benefits organisations through significant loss savings. Organisations that did not have a whistleblowing system in place suffered losses that were twice the size compared to those who did have a whistleblowing system.
  • Build trust in your brand: 50% of the participants responded that building trust was the main benefit of a whistleblowing system. An openness to whistleblowing demonstrates a commitment to high ethical standards and builds trust in the company.
  • Ensure legal compliance: Having a system in place for whistleblowing benefits organisations by reducing compliance risk.

Demerits of whistleblowing:

  • The world, government, corporates and even society to an extent do not like whistleblowers and some countries go so far as to call them ‘traitors’
  • The case of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange of Wikileaks proves the point
  • Whistleblowers face legal action, criminal charges, social stigma, and termination from any position, office, or job.
  • Vindictive tactics to make the individual’s work more difficult and/or insignificant, assassination of character, formal reprimand, and difficult court proceedings

Ethical perspective:

The ethics of whistleblowing is a tricky matter. Whistle-blowing brings two moral values, fairness and loyalty, into conflict.

In the case where a company does serious harm through its service or product, the disclosure of such information for the sake of public constitute the ground for an understanding that takes whistleblowing as an ethical behavior.

The situations where whistleblowing is morally justified:

  • Whenever and wherever the product/service of the firm will cause considerable harm to the public.
  • Whenever an employee feels serious threat or harm to him or anybody he should report to the firm.
  • If an immediate boss does not care for report (whistle blowing) the employee should go up to highest level to present his case.

Conclusion:

A good civil servant would adhere to the foundational principles and fight against corrupt practices in a pragmatic way as the situation demands.


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