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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 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:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. The Mughal rulers were men of acute aesthetic awareness and, as patron of art and culture, they built beautiful cities and buildings in India. Trace the evolution of architecture under various Mughal rulers in the sixteenth and seventeenth C.E. (250 words)

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania.

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 gradual evolution of Mughal architecture under various Mughal rulers by identifying major elements of change.

Directive:

Trace – find or describe the origin or development of policy/scheme/process. Follow or mark the course or position of something.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, write about the grandeur of Mughal architecture and emergence of a distinct style of their own.

Body:

In the body, trace the development of various styles of architecture, aesthetic awareness with example.

Babur and Humayun – Not much progress but cite a few examples of the constructed.

Akbar – A very distinct style emerged. The initial use of styles of Bengal and Gujarat in monuments at Agra. Then a distinctive style at monuments at Fathepur Sikri and Delhi.

Jahangir – mention the new features added and changes witnessed with examples.

Shahjahan – write about how Mughal architecture reached its Zenith under him. Distinct features with examples.

Aurangzeb – How his reign is marked with less patronage for arts but nevertheless a few buildings were constructed.

Conclusion:

Summarize the contributions of the Mughal rulers to Indian art and architecture.

Introduction:

Mughal architecture, building style that flourished in northern and central India under the patronage of the Mughal emperors from the mid-16th to the late 17th century. The Mughal period marked a striking revival of Islamic architecture in northern India. Under the patronage of the Mughal emperors, Persian, Turkish, Indian, and various provincial styles were fused to produce works of unusual quality and refinement.

Body:

Important Features of Mughal Architecture:

  • Blend of Indian, Persian, and Turkish architectural style.
  • Different types of buildings, such as majestic gates (entrances), forts, mausoleums, palaces, mosques, sarais, etc.
  • Building material: Mostly, red sandstone and white marble were used.
  • Specific features such as the Charbagh style (garden layout) of the mausoleums, pronounced bulbous domes, slender turrets at the corners, broad gateways, beautiful calligraphy, arabesque, and geometric patterns on pillars and walls, and palace halls supported on pillars.
  • The arches, chhatri, and various styles of domes became hugely popular in the Indo-Islamic architecture and were further developed under the Mughals.
  • It became so widespread especially in north India that these can be seen further in the colonial architecture of Indo-Sarcenic style.

Contributions:

  • Babur:
    • Due to his short reign (1526-1530), most of which was spent in wars, Babur could not leave any significant construction except the mosque of Kabuli Bagh at Panipat and Jama Masjid at Sambhal near Delhi.
    • Babur also built Ram Bagh, the first Mughal Garden in India (1528) in Charbagh Style located in Agra.
  • Humayun:
    • Humayun succeeded Babur, but throughout his reign, he was constantly embroiled in a struggle with Sher Shah Suri.
    • He laid the foundation of the city named Dinpanah but could not finish it.
    • Humayun’s Tomb, also known as the precursor of the Taj Mahal was the first imposing structure of the Mughals which was built by his widow Hamida Begum and designed by Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas.
    • The mausoleum built upon a raised platform is a mix of Indian and Persian artistry using red sandstone and white marble.
    • It has a Persian Charbagh style. The tomb was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
    • The Taj Mahal is the climax and therefore perhaps the most famous monument built under the Charbagh layout.
  • Sher Shah Suri (Sur Dynasty):
    • He built the Quila-e-Quanah mosque of Old Fort in Delhi, Rohtas Fort in Pakistan, Sher Shah Suri Masjid in Patna in Afghan-style
    • He also built the famous Grand Trunk Road.
    • His period saw the transition from Lodhi style to the Mughal style of architecture.
  • Akbar:
    • The reign of Akbar (1556-1605) witnessed immense developments in Mughal art and architecture.
    • He built the city of Fatehpur Sikri which was the first planned city of the Mughals and served as his capital from 1571 to 1585.
    • Buland Darwaza (1576, built to commemorate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat kings), Jama Masjid, Diwan-i-aam, Diwan-i-khaas, Birbal’s house, Tomb of Saint Salim Chisthi are some of the important monuments in Fatehpur Sikri.
    • He also built the Govind Dev temple in Vrindavan.
  • Jahangir:
    • The prince had a special appreciation for the paintings over architecture.
    • He built the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula (father of his wife Nur Jahan) displaying the world’s finest Pietra-dura works and completed Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra.
    • He also built the famous Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar, Moti Masjid at Lahore.
  • Shah Jahan:
    • He immortalized himself as he built the Taj Mahal in the memory of his late wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
    • He is rightly called ‘the prince of builders’ as the Mughal architecture reached its zenith under his reign.
    • He built Shahjahanabad, the 7th city of Delhi, today is known as Old Delhi.
    • He made extensive use of white marble as opposed to red sandstone which was preferred by his predecessors.
    • He also built the Jama Masjid in Delhi, Moti Masjid in the Agra Fort, and the Sheesh Mahal in the Lahore Fort brilliantly using pietra dura and complex mirror work.
  • Aurangzeb:
    • He preferred simplicity over the grandeur and repaired more mosques than he built.
    • Aurangzeb is also said to have destroyed numerous Hindu temples as well.
    • A beautiful pearl mosque in the Red Fort, Delhi, and the Bibi ka Maqbara in Aurangabad for his wife are only a few notable mentions in his long reign.
    • Thus, overall the Mughal architecture saw a decline in the Aurangzeb’s reign.

Conclusion:

Thus, stating the seemingly obvious, Mughal architecture developed into a one of a kind architectural style which has withstood the test of time. It is appreciated widely by people all across the world due to its distant features as discussed above. It is up to us architects of India to carry forward and preserve our traditional styles of architecture and create something new that is looked upon with pride by our future generations.

 

Topic:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. The Bhakti movement which influenced large number of people during 14th-17th centuries in North India emerged due to a number of political, socio-economic and religious factors. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania.

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 causes for the rise Bhakti movement in 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 describing the Bhakti movement and its features in brief.

Body:

In detail write about the political, socio-economic and religious factors responsible for the emergence of Bhakti movement.

Political – Turkish conquests, growth of non-conformist movement, declining power of the Rajput-Brahman alliance etc.

Socio-economic – against caste system, gender discrimination, against feudal oppression, growing classes of urban artisans, growth of towns, urban crafts production and expansion of markets etc.

Religious – Brahmanical hegemony. Emphasis of rituals, prevalence of superstition and against orthodox practices etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the importance of Bhakti movement.

Introduction:

Bhakti was accepted as a means to attain moksha along with jnana and karma. The Bhakti Movement originated in the seventh-century in Tamil, South India (now parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards. It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reached its peak between the 15th and 17th century CE. The Bhakti Saints moved against the austerities propagated by the Buddhist and Jain schools and professed that ultimate devotion to god was the means to salvation.

Body:

Salient features of the Bhakti movement:

  • The Bhakti movement in many ways broke barriers of gender, class and caste.
  • At the same time, it shattered stereotypes associated with the perception of spiritualism; denounced orthodoxy and the rigid ritualistic practices of worship, and established a more personal and informal connection between the devotee and the divine.
  • During the Bhakti movement, the lower classes rose to a position of great importance.
  • The Bhakti movement gave equal importance to men and women which gave way to the importance of women in society.
  • The Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system. This is supported by the fact that bhaktas or disciples hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered “untouchable”
  • Ramananda opposed the caste system and chose his disciples from all sections of society irrespective of caste. His disciples included Kabir, a weaver; Ravidasa, he was a cobbler; Sena, he was a barber; thus, emphasizing the equality among people of all occupations and caste.
  • Sant Kabir aided the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through Bhakti or pure devotion. He criticized all forms of worship of idols.
  • Guru Nanak condemned caste difference and rituals like bathing in holy rivers. His idea of religion was highly practical and strictly moral.
  • Nathpanthis, Siddhars and Yogis condemned the ritual and other aspects of orthodox religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. These groups became particularly popular among “low” castes.

Factors that led to the Bhakti movement:

Political:

  • It has been pointed out that as the popular bhakti movement could not take root in Northern India before the Turkish conquest because the socio-religious milieu was dominated by the Rajput-Brahman alliance which was hostile to any heterodox movement.
  • The Turkish conquests brought the supremacy of this alliance to an end.
  • The advent of Islam with the Turkish conquest also caused a setback to the power and prestige commanded by the Brahmans.
  • Thus, the way was paved for the growth of non-conformist movements, with anti-caste and anti-Brahminical ideology.
  • The Brahmans had always made the people believe that the images and idols in the temples were not just the symbols of God but were gods themselves who possessed divine power and who could be influenced by them (i.e. the Brahmans).
  • The Turks deprived the Brahmans of their temple wealth and state patronage. Thus the Brahmans suffered Both materially and ideologically.
  • The non-conformist sect of the nathpanthis was perhaps the first to gain from the declining power of the Rajput-Brahman alliance.
  • This sect seems to have reached its peak in the beginning of the Sultanate period.
  • The loss of power and influence by the Brahmans and the new political situation ultimately created conditions for the rise of the popular monotheistic movements and other bhakti movements in Northern India.

Socio-economic:

  • It has been argued that the bhakti movements of medieval India represented sentiments of the common people against feudal oppression.
  • According to this viewpoint, elements of revolutionary opposition to feudalism can be found in the poetry of the bhakti saints ranging from Kabir and Nanak to Chaitanya and Tulsidas.
  • It is in this sense that sometimes the medieval bhakti movements are an as Indian counterpart of the Protestant Reformation in Europe.
  • However, there is nothing in the poetry of the bhakti saints to suggest that they represented the class interests of the peasantry against the surplus-extracting feudal state.
  • The Vaishnava bhakti saints broke away from orthodox Brahminical order only to the extent that they believed in bhakti and religious equality.
  • Normally, they continued to subscribe to many basic principles of orthodox Brahmanism.
  • The more radical monotheistic saints rejected orthodox Brahminical religion altogether but even they did not call for the overthrow of the state and the ruling class.
  • For this reason, the bhakti movements cannot be regarded as Indian variant of European Protestant Reformation which was a far greater social upheaval linked to the decline of feudalism and the rise of capitalism

Religious:

  • Evils in the Hindu Society: Hindu society was full of many social anomalies like rigidity of caste system, irrelevant rituals and religious practices, blind faiths and social dogmas. Common men in general had developed an adverse attitude towards these social evils and were in need of a liberal form of religion where they could identify themselves with simple religious practices.
  • Complexity of religion: The high philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads were very complicated for the common people. They wanted a simple way of worship, simple religious practices and simple social customs. Alternative was Bhakti marga—a simple way of devotion to get salvation from worldly life.
  • Role of Religious Reformers: The chief exponents of the movement were Shankara, Ramanuja, Kabir, Nanak, Shri Chaitanya, Mirabai, Ramananda, Namdev, Nimbarka, Madhava, Eknath, Surdas, Tulsidas, Tukaram, Vallabhacharya and Chandidas. They were the propounders of Bhakti movement and gave a call to the people to worship in the simplest possible way of devotion and love.
  • Challenge from Rival Religion: the impact of the Muslim rule and Islam put dread in the heart of Hindu masses. The Hindus had suffered a lot under some of the fanatic rulers. They wanted some solace to heal their despairing hearts.
  • Influence of Sufism: The Sufi saints of the Muslim community also inspired the movement. Some similar chords in the two evoked resonance.

Conclusion:

Bhakti cult was out-of-the-box thoughts on religion. It was mainly against the common religious views, and most importantly, it was strongly against the caste system. With such long-lasting impacts, the religious depression of the medieval society was set aside. The teachings acted as a healing balm to the suppressed classes. A deep-rooted change came about to lay the foundations of a liberal and composite Indian society.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3. As the pace of globalisation, digitisation and connectivity accelerates, balancing civil liberties with security concerns will become an increasingly difficult task. Governments, will have to create modern, independent institutions that have the authority and expertise to create frameworks that meet these challenges, without falling back on measures that result in state overreach. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about balancing civil liberties of people and the security concerns of the state in the digital age.

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:

Begin by writing about the increasing resort of the government to internet shutdowns to uphold law and order.

Body:

Cite facts related to instances of internet shutdown and draw comparison to other countries.

Mention the reasons why the suspension of internet becomes a necessity – breakdown of law and order, threat to security, polarization, fake news, attempts to disrupt communal harmony etc.

Bring out the impact of frequent suspensions. Right to access the Internet being a fundamental right, breed deep-rooted societal difficulties, hamper pandemic related work, freeze economic activity, effect on emergency response and relief system etc.

Write about creating new institutions and making the existing systems more robust to handle the above mentioned threats rather than resorting to shutdowns.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward which emphasizes that shutdowns must be an exception.

Introduction:

India shuts down Internet services more than any other democracy in the world. The past four years have seen over 400 such shutdowns. Many parts of Jammu and Kashmir saw a partial restoration of digital services after a long period of 223 days, one of the longest Internet shutdowns across the world, since the abrogation of Article 370 in the erstwhile State.

Body

Reasons for curbing civil liberties

  • The use of internet shutdowns by police and other government authorities has become standard operating procedure when dealing with protests, demonstrations, or other perceived tense situations.
  • It was resorted during violet farm protests in the border areas of Delhi, very recently.
  • In Jammu Kashmir, it was under the behest of national security and sovereignty post abrogation of Article 370.
  • Shutting down internet is a legal grey area in India. It is a necessary evil, but must be used only as a last resort.
  • The Supreme court had declared it as an enabler of right to free speech and hence a fundamental right.
  • Mob attacks, lynching, orchestrated communal riots are some areas where government had to curb civil liberties by imposing curfew and internet blockade.

Measures needed

  • Internet bans should be a last resort and must be enforced following well-formulated protocols.
  • Emergency response and relief systems for the vulnerable have to then work in parallel. Eg: During Pandemic, reaching out to crores of Indians was possible through use of social media and internet.
  • Upgrading cyber divisions of law enforcement agencies with new-age innovations may offer several alternatives.
  • Rather than having adhoc provisions made by Telecom Rules, a comprehensive pro-liberty legislation must be enacted having only the rarest cases where internet shutdowns must be allowed.
  • A maximum threshold must be made on the duration of such a shutdown, monitored by an independent quasi-judicial committee which also decides on shutdown, on case-by-case basis.
  • Taking this decision-making authority out of government’s discretion is necessary to ensure the balance between civil liberty and security.

Conclusion

Indiscriminate curbing of liberties such as Internet blockades are not likely to safeguard public order in today’s time and age. They have high social and economic costs and are often ineffective. A proportionality and necessity test and cost-benefit analysis to determine the right course of action are essential at this juncture. Indian civil society needs to push for a transparent and accountable system which ensures better rights.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. COVID-19, Brexit and international tensions have unsettled the European Union and exacerbated its internal discords. Examine. What will be its impact on the EU-India relations? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The European Union is facing a crisis and wide range of multitude of issues which has brought to fore its internal discords. They all have wide range of ramifications.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of the pandemic, Brexit and various internal strife on the European Union and its impact of EU-India relations.

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 of multitude of issues faced by the EU in the past couple of years.

Body:

In detail, delineate the impact of Covid-19, Brexit and internal dissensions within the EU.

Covid-19: A large number of cases, relatively high death rate, economic impact, the second wave further affecting a large number of people, vaccine nationalism etc.              

Brexit: long negotiations, uncertain future for both EU as well as Britain and the rising Euroscepticism among member nations.

Others: Rise of populism, Re-calibration under Trump, security and defence, riots and resignations etc.

In brief, mention the relationship between EU-India and obstacles and disagreements in negotiating a trade deal so far. Write about how these pressing issues will further put the trade deal on a back burner and suggest step to engage with the E.U in the meanwhile.

Conclusion:

Conclude with ways India needs to work for having a long term trade deal with the EU.

Introduction:

India-EU relationship dates back to 1960s when India was the first country to establish relationship with European economic union which later evolved into common market -European union. For more than a decade, the EU and India partnership had been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. India was acknowledged as a strategic partner in 2004. But seventeen years on there is still no mutually agreed set of clear priorities. The EU-India relationship fails to acknowledge each partner’s individual realities.

Body:

Background:

  • Before COVID-19 and Brexit, the EU had the same GDP as the United States and was one of India’s major trade and investment partners.
  • The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for €80 billion worth of trade in goods in 2019 or 11.1% of total Indian trade, on par with the USA and ahead of China (10.7%).
  • The EU is the second-largest destination for Indian exports (over 14% of the total) after the USA.
  • India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 1.9% of EU total trade in goods in 2019, well behind the USA (15.2%), China (13.8%) and the UK (12.6%).
  • Being the largest democracies and unions of linguistically, culturally and ethnically diverse States, both the EU and India are well suited for a special relationship, but the reality is that the status is one without any spark of mutual chemistry.
  • The discussions began on a comprehensive free trade agreement in 2007 but were aborted due to differences on movement of professionals, labour, human rights and environmental issues and India’s high tariffs, inconsistent tax regime and non-payment of arbitral awards.

Various facets of India-EU bilateral relations:

  • Trade and Investment:
    • The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 12.9% of India’s overall trade. Further the trade in services have almost tripled in last decade.
    • Overall, the EU is the second largest investor in India, with €70 billion of cumulative FDI from April 2000 to March 2017, accounting for almost one quarter of all investments flows into India.
  • EU and India remain close partners in the G20 and have developed a regular macroeconomic dialogue to exchange experience on economic policies and structural reforms.
  • Energy Cooperation: EU – India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • Research and Development: India, participates in international ITER fusion. India also participates in research and innovation funding programme ‘Horizon 2020’
  • Environment and Water: The EU and India also cooperate closely on the Indian Clean Ganga initiative and deal with other water-related challenges in coordinated manner.
  • Migration and mobility: The EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) is a fundamental cooperation agreement between India and EU.
  • Development cooperation: Over €150 million worth of projects are currently ongoing in India.

Concerns in India- EU relations:

  • Internal discords in EU:
    • The EU now finds itself in an unusually turbulent situation. COVID-19, Brexit and international tensions caused by former U.S. President Donald Trump have unsettled the EU and exacerbated internal discords.
    • The crises of 2020 obfuscated the structural lack of unity in the EU, because despite its desire for greater integration, it faces obstacles from adherence to the rule of law to a strategy for dealing with China, Russia, Turkey and Iran.
    • After months of tortuous negotiation over Hungary and Poland’s objections, member States finally agreed on a long-term budget and a COVID-19 recovery package of $2 trillion.
    • The two countries had opposed anti-COVID-19 support being linked to good governance, in particular, accusations of suppression of human rights and lack of independence in the judiciary.
  • Poor outcomes of strategic summits:
    • The relationship remained far too focused on set-piece summits rather than fostering dynamic everyday linkages. Meetings, including summits, would be ritually cancelled and the paucity of high-level bilateral visits revealed a lack of political will.
    • Unfairly large emphasis was laid on foreign policy cooperation, but on many issues divisions far exceeded commonalities, leading to disappointment and an overall delusion in the potential of the partnership.
  • EU ‘s concerns with India’s ‘human rights violations:
    • India doesn’t take kindly to being lectured to on issues which she considers herself competent of handling.
    • For example, India considers human rights violations as a domestic issue and would wish to handle it within India’s political space.
    • EU’s insistence on including HR provisions into Free Trade Agreement has hampered trade between the two.
  • On multilateralism, EU-India interaction and coordination within UN bodies is not robust.
  • India’s bilateral relations with member countries:
    • Given the lack of cohesion among the EU constituents on strategic issues, India prefers establishing bilateral relations rather than dealing with the EU as a whole.
  • The case of the two Italian marines being tried in India was manslaughter has become a festering wound. The EU’s stand on the issue is seen by many in India as a challenge to her sovereignty.
  • Dual use technology:
    • EU’s reluctance to provide India with strategic dual use technology has pushed India into a closer huddle with the US and other European countries like France. India therefore, doesn’t see the EU as a reliable partner.
  • FTA issues:
    • Although trade remains the primary focus, negotiations for The free trade agreement (FTA) which was launched in 2007 is still being dragged due to the following reasons:
    • EU’s concerns:
      • India’s protectionism to automobile sector
      • India’s Intellectual property regime with the provision of compulsory licensing and manufacture of generic medicine
      • Domestic source obligation in the multi brand retail
      • Duty and tariff protection in areas of wine, spirits and dairy products
      • Civil nuclear energy generation legislation
      • Data Security: Based on current standard of protection to data in India the EU refused to grant the status of Data Secure Nation. Data secure nation needs to protect the important data related to innovation, research, individual details, IP etc. to be safeguarded. This affects High end business products specifically. European companies doing outsourcing business with countries not certified as data secure have to follow stringent contractual obligations that increase operating costs and affect competitiveness.
      • Vodafone case has threatened EU investors from entering India due to retrospective taxation measures. So such taxation is also acting as road block.
    • India’s concerns:
      • European Union’s heavily subsidised agro industry. This could hurt Indian farmers.
      • EU Import restriction: like ban on the import of mangoes from India
      • Work visa restriction – movement of skilled professionals
      • Technology transfer issues

Way forward:

  • A framework addressing the above mentioned issues could go a long way in strengthening ties in light of India and EU’s affinities and common concerns such as increasing fundamentalism.
  • India EU FTA has a lot of road blocks but it is in benefit of each other. EU will gain market of 1.2 billion whereas India will gain in terms of Technology, Investments from EU.
  • Both are needed to be pragmatic in approach while working on it in future. India’s share in services trade with EU can grow manifold.
  • Cheaper imports of European luxury items like cars, wine, European expertise in agriculture, infrastructure and urban management can augment Indian drive in make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan & agricultural research.
  • The EU has capacitated to deal with issues like global governance, climate change and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. India must utilise this through bilateral dialogues and consultations.
  • Working on FTA and realising concrete results in other areas can make the India-EU partnership truly strategic. Deepen the strategic relations and go ahead with the long-term view on global and regional challenges, and a rule-based international order.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Government Budgeting.

5. The Budget, taken as a whole, has provided reasonable stimulus to growth through a change in the composition of expenditure and other measures to improve the climate for investment. But concerns remain about fiscal deficit. Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Budget 2021 aimed at propelling growth in the next fiscal but also lay the foundation for the coming decade.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse the various components of budget to improve investment as well economic growth and the need to address the drawback of potential rise in country’s fiscal deficit.

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:

Begin by mentioning the various changes in the composition of expenditure and steps to improve investment climate in India.

Body:

In detail, bring out the above. Cite statistics related to the changing composition of expenditure from this years’ budget. Bring out the impact of the same.

Next write about the opportunities created by the budget for improving investment in India. National Infrastructure Pipeline, Development Finance Institution, rise in capital expenditure etc.

Write about various limitations pertaining to the above especially the concern of increasing fiscal deficit. Debt sustainability, evolving profiles of debt, interest payments, and primary deficits relative to GDP. Paperwork and bureaucratic bottlenecks etc.

Suggest measures to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward where a balance can be achieved between overcoming the obstacles posed by the pandemic as well as keep fiscal deficit in the acceptable limits.

Introduction:

The fiscal year 2020-21 has been an extraordinary one, where India had to face an acute economic crisis triggered by a non-economic factor — a pandemic. The National Statistical Office has estimated that the economy would shrink by 7.7%. The budget that was enacted against this background has provided reasonable stimulus to growth by infusing capital expenditure.

Body

Union Budget: Stimulus to growth

  • In the action taken report, the Union government has accepted the recommended vertical share of 41% for the States in the shareable pool of central taxes.
  • Some of the proposed Budget initiatives include setting up of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) with an initial capital of ₹20,000 crore, to serve as a catalyst for facilitating infrastructure investment.
  • An important initiative pertains to the launching of a National Monetisation Pipeline. This would be the first practical step towards asset monetisation.
  • Instead of massive cash transfers, the Union Budget has provided targeted economic stimulus, especially to capital infrastructure and the public health sector.
  • The total size of the budget for FY21 has increased to Rs 34.50 lakh crore. In FY22, total expenditure is pegged at Rs 35 lakh crore.
  • The emphasis on capital infrastructure spending for economic revival by increasing the capital expenditure for FY2021-22 by 34.5% to Rs 5.5 lakh crore is welcome.

Concerns on fiscal deficit

  • Finance minister presented “significant” fiscal deficit number – which went upto5% in FY21 – from a position of strength.
  • Simultaneously, commencing a fiscal consolidation path to execute an “excessive deficit procedure” in the Union Budget 2012-22 to bring down the excess deficit of 9.5% of GDP in FY21 to 4.5% by FY26 is inevitable.
  • The cleaning up of deficit incurred from off-budget liabilities through public sector undertakings is still a matter of concern. Such borrowings do not figure in the concept of fiscal deficit.
  • Already Fiscal deficit had widened to 145.5 per cent of the full-year’s budget estimates (of 2020) in December 2020.
  • Ensuring that in next 5 years, this deficit is bridged and reduced to 4.5% will be of utmost importance so that the burden of increased taxes does not fall on later generations.

Conclusion

High forecasted GDP growth for 2021-22 creates an extraordinary occasion to be more aggressive with deficit financing. But how the additional financing is expended will determine the success of this strategy. Now is the time for India to be bold and invest to create conditions that will stimulate further economic activity.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  social influence and persuasion.

6. Examine the role of persuasive communication in attitude change. (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:

A straightforward question where you need to write how Persuasive communication leads to the change in the attitude.

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 the answer by defining persuasion.

Body:

In detail, bring out the various components which are a part of the process to bring about the attitude change.

Source of the message (Person or institution): Credibility and Attractiveness.

Content of the message – Suggestion, Use of primacy and recency effect.

Receiver of the message – Influenceability, Selective attention and interpretation.

Substantiate with examples.

Write about the impediments to it and suggest steps to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Summarize the role of persuasion.

Introduction:

Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours. Persuasion is the process of changing or reinforcing attitudes, beliefs or behaviour of a person.

Body:

People respond to persuasive messages in two ways: thoughtfully and mindlessly. When people are in thoughtful mode, the persuasiveness of the message is determined by merits of the message. When people respond to messages mindlessly, their brains are locked on automatic. Persuasion is mainly dependent upon the attractiveness of the speakers and reaction of the listeners. Persuasion is exclusively related with communication, learning, awareness and thought.

Importance of three factors:

Source:

  • Features of the source of the persuasive message include the credibility of the speaker and the physical attractiveness of the speaker.
  • Thus, speakers who are credible, or have expertise on the topic, and who are deemed as trustworthy are more persuasive than less credible speakers.
  • Similarly, more attractive speakers are more persuasive than less attractive speakers.
  • The use of famous actors and athletes to advertise products on television and in print relies on this principle.
  • The immediate and long term impact of the persuasion also depends, however, on the credibility of the messenger

Message:

  • Features of the message itself that affect persuasion include subtlety (the quality of being important, but not obvious); sidedness (that is, having more than one side); timing, and whether both sides are presented.
  • Messages that are subtler are more persuasive than direct messages.
  • Arguments that occur first, such as in a debate, are more influential if messages are given back-to-back.
  • However, if there is a delay after the first message, and before the audience needs to make a decision, the last message presented will tend to be more persuasive

Target:

  • Features of the audience that affect persuasion are attention, intelligence, self-esteem, and age.
  • In order to be persuaded, audience members must be paying attention.
  • People with lower intelligence are more easily persuaded than people with higher intelligence; whereas people with moderate self-esteem are more easily persuaded than people with higher or lower self-esteem.
  • Finally, younger adults aged 18–25 are more persuadable than older adults.

Role in Public life:

  • Effecting social change: To deal with issues like girl child education, inter caste marriage, temple entry for women, persuasion may be the only solution because change has to be brought keep intact the dignity and respect of all stake holders. g.: The advertisements for polio drops for children are a form of persuasion
  • Public policy formulation and implementation: Sometimes persuasion works better than coercion; success of the initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan- cleanliness drives and Ujjwala give it up campaign can be attributed to persuasion.
  • Following rules: It helps in making people follow rules which bring inconvenience to them, like District collector visiting houses in the morning to persuade people for waste segregation before disposal.
  • Moral conditioning: Persuasion can bring change in attitude of people. In Delhi Metro various signboards on certain seats asks passengers to offer that seat to needy people. Similarly, regular announcements to keep the station clean persuade people to change their behaviour.
  • Incentivising good behaviour: For instance, in income declaration scheme a window was open to declare black money with some fine and no legal action that incentivized people instead of penalizing them.

Conclusion:

Thus, Persuasion is one form of social influence on attitude; in fact, it represents the intersection of social thinking and social influence of everyday life. Understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be social influenced and persuaded by the public policy.

 

Topic:  Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

7. Unhealthy lifestyle, chronic stress and complexities associated with health behaviours have given rise to novel health issues and chronic illnesses. Recently the role of emotions in the health processes has also been emphasised. Given this conceptualization, Emotional intelligence may serve as a protective factor for healthy outcomes. Comment. (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 how Emotional intelligence can play part in reducing the stress and provide for healthy outcomes.

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 giving context regarding the unhealthy lifestyle and increasing stress at the work place.

Body:

In the first part write about the impact of the above especially in the aftermath of the pandemic.

In detail, write in detail how EI can play in part in preventing the same. Efficient self-regulation towards health-related behaviours, Greater social support resources, use of proactive self-care, Positive emotions and related positive effects of the immune system etc.

Conclusion:

Write about the advantages it will produce.

Introduction:

The digital revolution combined with sedentary lifestyle exacerbates stress. This coupled with the anxiety due to the extreme competitive environment today, has led to chronic health issues and mental illnesses. To prevent stress and anxiety, one must identify their emotions and be aware of the causes to manage the secondary issues caused by the reactions to such emotions.

Body

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to the capability of a person to manage and control his or her emotions and possess the ability to control the emotions of others as well. In other words, they can influence the emotions of other people also.

It is said to have five main elements such as – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Of these, self-regulation is of significant importance in this context.

For instance, watching social media and comparing ourselves with someone else might lead to extreme anxiety about our inadequacies or shortcomings. Instead of indicting ourselves for our situation, one must understand that every individual has their own trajectory in life. And circumstances surrounding one’s riches or well-being can be very different.

Secondly, with the advent of smart phones, people spend majority of their time on their mobiles. This leads to isolation from community and network of friends and family. Such a lifestyle can also be detrimental to physical well-being which in turn affects the mental well-being.

Emotional intelligence can be the answer to our state of mind and help recognize and be aware of our emotions. One we are aware, it enables us to regulate our behaviour in adopting healthy practices. Emotional intelligence allows one to negate the negative emotions of ourselves and of those around us. It will create a positive outlook on life and situations, in turn keeping us happy.

Mindfulness can help people to deal with their current situation and find ways to deal with each aspect. For example, deep breathing enables people to stay in the present and provide more control to regain balance in mind and body. Meditation is a practice that not all people will feel comfortable with but can be effective if used well. Meditation does not have to be religious-based but can also relate to other forms of practice.

Conclusion

The ability to regulate emotion could be integral for dealing with health and lifestyle issues. Our emotions can fluctuate throughout the day and their very nature can dictate whether we can control these emotions. Regulating emotion is not easy and is something that should be practised consistently. Common strategies to regulate emotion include setting goals, mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, positive self-talk, listening to music and reflective practice.


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