Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 June 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: Chinese Revolution

1. Discuss the reasons owing to which the Communists led by Mao-Tse-Tung emerged victorious in the Chinese Civil War. Also, explain in what way Mao’s victory impacted South Asian politics? (250 words)

Reference:  World history by Norman Lowe

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , part World Geography.

Key Demand of the question:

This question seeks reasons for the victory of Chinese Communist Party over KMT regime in the Chinese Civil War and its impact upon South Asian Politics.

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:

Briefly introduce the Chinese Civil War. Put forth the timeline of it.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain first how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) emerged victorious despite the odds.

Discuss the underlying factors; Political: The administration of both parties, Sino-Japanese War, Long march etc.  Socio-economic: The peasant and workers, the reforms of CCP, the communism effect. Comparative Leadership: Mao Tse Tung vs Chiang Kai Shek, the revolutionary spirit of CCP etc.

Then, outline the effect of Chinese Revolution in the South Asian Region; Tibet issue, Sino-Indian war, Taiwan and One China Policy etc.

Conclusion:

Summarize the above mentioned points which changed the fate of China and trace the emerging of the present day assertive China to this civil war.

Introduction:

Few people in history deserve sole credit for changing the fate of an entire nation. One of them is Mao Tse-tung, the man who rose from the peasantry to become the pre-eminent revolutionary theorist, political leader and statesman of Communist China. Mao’s influence endured more than 40 years from the Long March of the 1930s, through the Red Army’s victory in 1949, until his death in 1976 at age 83. He remained chairman of the party to the end. The grip that Maoism — Mao’s philosophy of socialism — had on decision-making and opinion-moulding loosened after 1976.

Body:

Mao Zedong and communist party of china were successful in liberating china. The factors that led to this are:

  • The Chinese emperor was deposed in 1911 and a republic was established in its place by the Kuomintang (KMT)
  • The KMT in the subsequent years under the leadership of Sun Yat Sen went on to consolidate the Chinese state which was under the grip of provincial ‘war lords’
  • Sun Yat Sen was able to garner the support of the communists in China who were under the leadership of Mao. However, the relations between Mao and the KMT started to strain after Sun Yat Sen’s demise in 1925
  • The Communists were gradually purged by Chiang Kai Shek who came to head KMT after Sun Yat Sen
  • Civil War broke out in China once again and the Communists under the leadership of Mao had to take refuge in the cold desert region of China. It was Mao’s leadership and determination which ensured that the communists despite the heavy odds failed to cow down
  • The Communists were instrumental in raising the banner of revolt in wake of the Japanese invasion. Joining forces with their sworn enemy, the KMT they were able to put a strong opposition against the Imperial Japanese Army
  • After the end of WW-II, the Western Powers wanted to back pro-capitalist Chiang Kai Shek to acquire power. However, civil war erupted once again and Mao and his comrades were able to wrest power from the KMT and had them take refuge in the island of Formosa leading to the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Impact of Mao’s Victory on South Asian Politics:

  • Tibet was not “Chinese” until Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)marched in and made it so.
  • This has often been described by the Tibetan people and third party commentators as “a cultural genocide”. This led to strained India china conflicts as Dalai Lama took refuge in India.
  • This climaxed into Sino Indo war of 1962 and caused loss of India due to its flawed defensive forward Policy
  • Loss of KMT government in China led to their fleeing into Taiwan, due to ideological Differences between communist party and KMT party there has always been conflicts between taiwan and china.
  • China put forward a formula, known as “one country, two systems”, under which both Beijing and Taipei agree that Taiwan belongs to China, while the two still disagree on which entity is China’s legitimate governing body.
  • One China policy is the recognition in the US of the long-held position in Beijing that there is only one China, and Taiwan is part of that. Any country wishing to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing must acknowledge there is only “One China” and sever all formal ties with Taiwan.
  • One-China principle faces opposition from supporters of the Taiwan independence movement, which pushes to establish the “Republic of Taiwan” and cultivate a separate identity apart from China called “Taiwanization”.

India’s strategy on China aggressiveness

  • Not joining OBOR is not enough, India needs to clearly spell out a broader strategy on China.
  • With the US distracted by domestic issues, Japan still reeling from stagflation, Russia hit by low oil prices and Eurozone engaged internally post-downturn with questions on Greece turmoil, immigrants and Brexit, ignoring China trying to dominate a unipolar world seems to turning into a reality.
  • The South China Sea countries have almost always been harassed by the stronghold of china. India was instrumental in bringing the world forces together to hold on of the largest exercises FORCE 18 which enabled India to bond with the ASEAN nations better and build the trust with them.
  • India is looking to train ASEAN nation’s navy; this is seen as an opportunity as a show off to increase Indian presence in the area.
  • India has been looking to find a market in the Far East nations which will help them to establish itself in the countries and in turn step up military action to protect these establishments.

Conclusion

These events inspired the communists elsewhere and added to the strength of the newly independent nations. On the other hand, the Revolution led the United States of America to tighten the noose on the communist bloc to help prevent the spread of communism.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2 Critically analyse the Pakistan’s strategic dilemma, post Kashmir’s special status abrogation and comment upon the changing trajectory of India’s Pakistan policy. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article expounds upon understanding Pakistan’s Kashmir conundrum.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the Pakistan’s strategic dilemma, post Kashmir’s special status abrogation and its impact on India.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of the question.

Body:

Explain various developments and perspectives on Kashmir tussle between India and Pakistan.

Account for brief history of India and Pakistan with respect to the Kashmir issue.

Talk about the recent Kashmir’s special status abrogation and its impact on India- Pak relations.

Discuss the recent initiations with Pakistan; explain how the dynamics of the policies have changed over a period of time.

Take cues from the article and explain the changing trajectory of India’s Pakistan policy and underlying reasons.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

On 5th August 2019, President of India in the exercise of the powers conferred by Clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution had issued the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019. Through this, Government of India has made modifications in Article 370 itself (not revoked it).

With this, the Government of India has dramatically altered the relationship between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Union.

Body

Pakistan’s Stand on the abrogation

  • Bilateral Relation:Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic mission in Delhi and asked India to withdraw its envoy to Pakistan in retaliation. Although, ambassadors were not engaged in any serious political dialogue and just doing representational functional, so it will not affect much between two countries.
  • Trade: Pakistan decided for suspension of bilateral trade to lodge its protest against New Delhi’s move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. This won’t affect India much as India and Pakistan have very minuscule bilateral trade. However, this will hurt Pakistan as their textiles industry imports 65% Cotton from India.
  • Cultural: Pakistan has decided to ban all cultural exchanges with India, including all kinds of joint ventures between the entertainment industries of the two countries. As the Pakistan government has banned the screening of Indian films in the country’s cinemas, this will affect the box office as Bollywood has a huge fan following in Pakistan.
  • Travel: Countries have stopped functioning of Samjhauta express train. This will affect the divided Muslim and Sikh families in both countries. Islamabad also announced that its airspace would be partially closed to India, for a month. This will cost more to Indian airlines flying to the west. Pakistan has, however, kept the Kartarpur project alive.
  • Terrorism: Pakistan threatened for more Pulwama like attacks. Pakistan will provoke Kashmiri people for anti- India sentiments and sponsor and radicalize them for stone pelting, militancy and terrorism. This will create a more volatile situation in the valley and is a threat to India’s internal security.
  • Tension on Border and War:  Cross border shelling will increase on the border. Moreover, there is a threat of war between the two nuclear nations. Chances are less as Pakistan is going through an economic crisis right now.

New dynamics Pakistan has to face

  • As the US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan is eager to build a relationship with Washingtonthat is not tied to US stakes in Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan does not want to be totally alienated from U.S. in the new geopolitical jousting between the US and China.
  • How Pakistan copes with the new dynamic between the US and China as well as manages the deepening crisis in Afghanistanwould be of great interest to India.

Problems that complicates Pakistan’s strategic autonomy

  • Relative economic decline:Pakistan’s expected aggregate GDP at around $300 billion in 2021 is 10 times smaller than India’s.
  • Obsession with Kashmir:Pakistan’s enduring obsessions with separating Kashmir from India, and extending its political sway over Afghanistan; both look elusive despite massive political investments by the Pakistan army.
  • Unsurprisingly, there is a recognition that Pakistanneeds reorientation — from geopolitics to geo-economics and permanent war with neighbours to peace of some sorts.
  • Using religion as political instrument:Turning Islam into a political instrument and empowering religious extremism seemed clever a few decades ago.
  • However, today those forces have acquired a life of their own and severely constrain the capacity of the Pakistani state to build internal coherence and widen international options.

Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan successful

  • Since the Partition, India and Pakistan have signed many agreements to generate confidence and reduce tensions.
  • Perhaps the most notable among them are Liaquat-Nehru Pact (1951), Indus Waters Treaty (1960), Tashkent Agreement (1966), Rann of Kutch Agreement (1969), Shimla Accord (1972), Salal Dam Agreement (1978), and the establishment of the Joint Commission.
  • Except for the Joint Commission, all the others were the products of either a crisis or a war that necessitated a logical end to the preceding developments.
  • Though CBMs are efficient tools to improve inter-state relations, trust between the two sides is vital for its success.
  • CBMs are difficult to establish but easy to disrupt and abandon.
  • Some continue to be successful while others are abandoned.

Conclusion

It will be unwise to rule out Pakistan’s positive reinvention; no country has a bigger stake in it than India. For now, though, Pakistan offers a cautionary tale on the dangers of squandering a nation’s strategic advantages — including a critical geopolitical location that it had inherited and the powerful partnerships that came its way.

 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3. A federal structure with greater economic power to the States, will allow the Centre to focus on external threats instead of internal dissensions. Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the importance of a more federal structure in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way a federal structure with greater economic power to the States, will allow the Centre to focus on external threats instead of internal dissensions.

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:

Briefly start by commenting upon the nature of federal structure in India.

Body:

Highlight the present nature of fiscal relations between Union and States.

Then, comment on the nature of revenue distribution between Centre and States. Discuss the associated constitutional provisions with respect to it.

Present a case for greater economic power to the States so that they can directly collect more taxes and be less dependent on the Central government.

Discuss how such methods can help address external threats instead of internal dissents.

 Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s hard-won independence and unity needs to be preserved. Today there are threats from China. There may be threats from Afghanistan after the U.S. withdraws its troops. A transition to a more federal structure will allow the Centre to focus on external threats instead of internal dissensions.

Introduction

Fiscal federalism is financial relationship between centre and states, it deals with the division of governmental functions and financial relations among levels of government.

In India, direct taxes go entirely to the Central government. State governments get funds from the Central government according to the Finance Commission’s recommendations. Though this is based on a formula, often politics intervenes, and some States get less and some more.

Body

After the 15th Finance Commission recommendation, the Central government is supposed to distribute 41% of its gross tax revenues (reduced from 42% after the formation of new Union Territories in Jammu and Kashmir) to the State governments.

Challenges with the present tax sharing mechanism

  • Usually, the Central government does not meet the 41% target. Various States governments either file petitions or come into conflict with the Central government on this issue.
  • The issue of Cesses: Central government has added cess on various items which adds up to over ₹3.5 lakh crore. This is not shared with the State governments.
  • More economic power to the Central government:At an all-India level, the States get 26% of their total revenue from the Central government. Some of the so-called poorer States get up to 50% of their total revenue from the Central government. This allows ruling parties at the Centre to use these funds to their advantage.
  • Regional disparity: Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat contribute 72% of the tax revenue. But they receive only miniscule share. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh, which has the largest population in India, contributes only 3.12% but gets over 17% of the revenue distributed by the Central government.
  • Revenue distribution formula: The formula gives more weightage to population and poverty levels.The population growth rates in the southern states have come down to near zero. On the other hand, population in central and north India continues to grow. This make ever growing of cross subsidy from the south to the north. 
  • Population factor and cross subsidy: The population growth rates in the south has been come down to zero whereas the population in central and north India continues to grow

Suggestions

  • Provide greater economic power to states: This will make states to directly collect more taxes and be less dependent on the Central government. This is in line with the international practices. In the U.S., both the federal and State governments collect direct taxes from individuals and corporations. This is true in Switzerland and some other countries as well.
  • Period of transition: For poorer states, a period of transition is perhaps required

Conclusion

Hence a transition to a more federal structure will allow the Centre to focus on external threats instead of internal dissensions.

 

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

4. Providing affordable housing requires multi-pronged approach. In this light, deliberate upon the government initiatives to boost affordable urban housing in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains how providing affordable housing requires a multi-pronged approach.

Key Demand of the question:

Deliberate upon the government initiatives to boost affordable urban housing in India.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The current pandemic has brought to fore the plight of migrant workers in India. The reverse migration that we saw with Covid highlights the need to provide affordable living conditions to the workers, so that they are not compelled to migrate back in times of income uncertainties.

Body:

Quote some key data highlighting the concerns related to poverty in India.

Explain that subsidies apart, infrastructure development and provision of basic services/amenities around the housing projects are a must. Also, policies and measures that help lower costs will enhance the feasibility of these projects.

Discuss the government initiatives to boost affordable urban housing in India.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward and conclude.

Introduction:

Affordable Housing for All was first carved as an objective in the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy (NUHHP), 2007 of India. It rose to prominence in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 when muted real estate demand and the economic slowdown prompted Indian real estate developers to focus on affordable housing. The biggest boost came when the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – Urban in June 2015.

India had an urban housing shortage of around 19 million units as per the report of the Technical Group formed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2012. Most of this shortage is in the EWS (economically weaker section) and LIC (low income category). With the rapid pace of urbanisation happening in India, the urban housing requirement in this income category is going to increase further.

Body:

Affordable housing in India is defined as a house or a flat with carpet area up to 90 square metres in non-metropolitan cities and towns, and 60 square metres in metropolitan cities and having value up to Rs 45 lakh, for both.

Measures undertaken so far for affordable housing:

  • The Government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have taken numerous measures to give a boost to this sector over the past few years.
  • PMAY (Gramin), which comes under the ambit of the Ministry of Rural Development and
  • PMAY (Urban), which falls under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • The government is targeting completing 11.2 million houses by 2022 under PMAY- U. Against this target, currently 4.8 million houses have been completed and around eight million houses are under various stages of construction.
  • Affordable housing is also included under RBI’s priority sector lending programme.
  • CLSS (Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme) for affordable home buyers, the government has also announced various measures to improve the supply of affordable housing.
  • The Model Tenancy Act 2021 is a step in the right direction as it endeavours to correct some of the imbalances in the rental market, while also proposing a redress mechanism that should enable creation of a more matured rental market in India.

Challenges faced by affordable housing schemes:

  • Various challenges continue to hamper the pace of affordable housing development in India.
  • Lack of suitable low-cost land parcels within the city limits, lengthy approval process and multiple clearances, lack of access to cheap credit for construction finance, low profit margins are a few such challenges.
  • This has limited the participation of large, organised real estate players in affordable housing projects.
  • Affordable housing sales have failed to gather momentum despite the conducive environment.
  • While a definitive cause is still to be ascertained, a few possible reasons could be the need for further government incentives, frail economic conditions impacting employment and income levels resulting in risk-averse buyer sentiments, challenges in implementation of government incentives, difficulty in credit availability due to the Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) liquidity crisis, and the millennial mindset to be asset light preferring to rent instead of purchase.
  • The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have had significant impact on all businesses, including real estate. All construction activity had to be completely halted during the lockdown phase.
  • Post lockdown, while cost of inputs such as steel and cement have increased, the availability of construction labour has gone down.
  • This has not only increased the cost of construction for developers but has also caused delays in project completions.
  • Further, as banks and lending institutions have resorted to tighter lending norms in light of the present economic situation, developers are finding it hard to avail credit.
  • This, along with muted demand, have severely impacted developer cash flows.

Way forward:

  • The conundrum of providing affordable housing requires multi-pronged approach covering both demand and supply side issues.
  • On the demand side, while it is important to provide subsidies, it is equally important to supplement them with infrastructure development and provision of basic services/amenities around these housing projects.
  • On the supply-side, given that affordable housing is a low margin business, policies and measures that enable lower cost will enhance the feasibility of these projects. Other missing pieces like a matured rental market and specifically a robust affordable rental housing scheme will also enable a holistic approach towards affordable housing.
  • Also, as affordable housing is an end-user driven market, the prevailing low property prices and low home loan interest rates could prompt home-buyers to make their purchase decisions.
  • The extension of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) deadlines for project completions will give the developer community a much-needed breather.
  • Also, as incidence of reverse migration in the country was strong in the wake of the ongoing crisis, it could result in an increased demand for affordable housing in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
  • On the whole, the affordable housing segment has the potential to recover faster than other residential segments.
  • The target audience of this segment are the LIG / Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and MIG earners who form a sizeable chunk of India’s total population.
  • If sufficiently incentivised, the affordable housing sector could benefit significantly from the sheer size of its target group.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth

5. Evaluate the risk of stifling the e-commerce sector due to the government’s propensity for its regulations to protect the local traders. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

The article highlights the risk of stifling the e-commerce sector due to the government’s propensity for its regulation to protect the local traders.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the risk of stifling the e-commerce sector due to the government’s propensity for its regulations to protect the local traders.

 Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the context of the question; The Centre put out proposals to tighten e-com regulations for consumer protection. E-com firms must appoint resident officers to address grievances and monitor rule-compliance, and then be ready to share information sought by authorities within 72 hours.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the efforts to shield local retailers; India began to open up its economy three decades ago, but efforts to shield local retailers resulted in a retail sector fraught with a thicket of rules.

Analyse the issues with regulations that have been put in place recently.

Conclusion:

Conclude that what e-com users are now at risk of suffering, though, is a hobbled industry. If all e-com websites are forced into a statist mold meant for generic market platforms, these companies could lose their ability to set themselves apart, outperform rivals and serve the market’s ultimate cause.

Introduction:

The Government had notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 about 11 months ago. The Department of Consumer Affairs has now mooted a set of sweeping amendments, ostensibly “to protect the interests of consumers and encourage free and fair competition in the market”.

According to the government argument, the proposed amendments aim to bring transparency in the e-commerce platforms and further strengthen the regulatory regime to curb the prevalent unfair trade practices.

Body:

proposed amendments are as follows:

  • To ensure compliance of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and Rules, appointment of Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.
  • Officers to ensure compliance to their orders and Resident Grievance Officer for redressing of the grievances of the consumers on the e-commerce platform, has been proposed.
  • This would ensure effective compliancewith the provisions of the Act and Rules and also strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism on e-commerce entities.
  • Putting in place a framework for registration of every e-commerce entitywith the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for allotment of registration number which shall be displayed prominently on website as well as invoice of every order placed the e-commerce entity.
  • Registration of e-commerceentities would help create a database of genuine e-commerce entities and ensure that the consumers are able to verify the genuineness of an e-commerce entity before transacting through their platform.
  • To protect the interests of consumers, mis-selling has been prohibited selling goods and services entities selling goods or services by deliberate misrepresentation of information by such entities about such goods or services.
  • To ensure that consumers are aware about the expiry date of the products they are buying on the e-commerce platform all sellers on marketplace e-commerce entities.
  • All inventory e-commerce entities to provide best before or use before date to enable consumers to make an informed purchase decision.
  • To ensure that the domestic manufacturers and suppliers get a fair and equal treatment on the e-commerce platformit has been provided that where an e-commerce entity offers imported goods or services, it shall incorporate a filter mechanism to identify goods based on country of origin and suggest alternatives to ensure fair opportunity to domestic goods.
  • To ensure that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to negligent conduct by such sellerin fulfilling the duties and liabilities in the manner as prescribed by the marketplace e-commerce entity, provisions of Fall-back liability for every marketplace e-commerce entity have been provided.

Rationale behind the amendment:

  • It was observed that there was an evident lack of regulatory oversight in e-commerce which required some urgent action.
  • The rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has also brought into the purview the unfair trade practicesof the marketplace e-commerce entities engaging in manipulating search result to promote certain sellers.
  • This includes preferential treatment to some sellers, indirectly operating the sellers on their platform, impinging the free choice of consumers, selling goods close to expiration etc.
  • Certain e-commerce entities are engaging in limiting consumer choice by indulging in“back to back” or “flash” sales.
  • This prevents a level playing fieldand ultimately limits customer choice and increases prices.

Benefits provided by rules:

  • The rules restrict e-commerce companies from “manipulating search results or search indexes”. It is a long-standing demand from sellers and traders to prevent preferential treatment to certain platforms.
  • Further, the rules also mandate the logistics service provider to not provide differentiated treatmentbetween sellers of the same category.
  • The proposed amendments will lead to more accountability from stakeholders of e-commerce firms. The e-commerce companies need to provide an explanation on how they rank the products, which consumers can understand easily, and also create transparency.
  • With mandatory registration for e-tailers with DPIIT, the fraudulent e-commerce operators can be tackled.
  • The e-commerce companies will have to provide domestic alternatives to imported goods. This will boost made-in-India goods.
  • The rules also protect against unfair trade practicesand also against misleading advertising.

Challenges posed:

  • The draft rules show the Government’s increasing enthusiasm to exercise greater oversight over all online platforms.
  • The new e-commerce rules create over-regulation, along with a scope for interpretative ambiguity in rules. This will retard growth and job creation in the hitherto expanding e-commerce sector.
  • E-commerce also has provided MSMEs with a wider audience to sell their products. Tightening of rules for marketplaces will discourage these MSMEs from coming online.
  • The enforcement of many of these norms is bound to spur extended legal fights which may overburden the Judiciary.
  • The rules are not clear as to how identifying goods based on “country of origin” will offer domestic manufacturers a better deal unless it is assumed that consumers are driven by patriotism rather than value.
  • Asserting that the amendments were not aimed at conventional flash sales, the Government said it was only targeting certain entities engaged in limiting consumer choice by indulging in ‘back-to-back’ sales wherein a seller does not have the capability to meet an order.
  • In trying to address shortcomings in its rules from last year, the Government appears to be harking back to an era of tight controls.
  • Overregulation with scope for interpretative ambiguity risks retarding growth and job creation in the hitherto expanding e-commerce sector.

Way forward:

  • The enforcement of many of these norms is bound to spur protracted legal fights., thus there is a need to strengthen the Arbitration, Mediation and Conciliation and other alternative legal measures.
  • There is a need for the government to remove ambiguities that arise from multiple ministries governing the e-commerce sector.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Study the impact of global trade on marine pollution while discussing remedial measures to address the same. (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times

Why the question:

Recently a cargo ship X-Press Pearl, carrying hazardous chemicals, including nitric acid, caught fire, exploded, and later sank off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the impact of global trade on marine pollution while discussing remedial measures to address the same.

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 with a brief on what constitutes Marine pollution.

Body:

The answer body must discuss in what way global trade has become one of the major causes leading to marine pollution.

 Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide. Developing economies account for the largest share of global seaborne trade, both in terms of exports and imports.

Then discuss how Global trade is causing Marine Pollution; oil spills, dry bulk cargo releases, port building etc.

Explain the effect Pollution on Marine Ecosystem.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions and conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Oceans are the largest water bodies on the planet Earth. Over the last few decades, surplus human activities have severely affected marine life on the Earth’s oceans. Ocean pollution, also known as marine pollution, is the spreading of harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste and chemical particles into the ocean. Since oceans provide the home to wide variety of marine animals and plants, it is the responsibility of every citizen to play his or her part in making these oceans clean so that marine species can thrive for a long period of time.

Body:

impact of global trade on marine pollution:

  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), more than 80% of global trade by volume, and more than 70% by value, travels by ship.
  • A recent study found that the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land each year exceeds 4.8 million tons (Mt), and may be as high as 12.7 Mt. The quantities of plastic entering the ocean are growing rapidly with the potential for cumulative inputs of plastic waste into the ocean as high as 250 Mt by 2025
  • The global maritime transport is notably driven by globalization and the rising economic importance of Asia. It has recorded an annual long-term growth rate of about 3 to 4% (1997-2017, source: HIS Maritime). When in operation, ships produce fuel oil residue, which is called “slop”.

    Previously, this residue was discharged into the sea.

  • For instance, a container ship which is powered by a 50 000 horsepower engine generates 1.6 tons of fuel oil residue in the form of sludge, in relation to a daily consumption of 180 tons of fuel.
  • Shipping infrastructure has been more immediately implicated in the diffusion of alien species.
  • One outcome of digging canals is the incidental migration of fish and aquatic plants between formerly remote bodies of water, like the Caribbean and the Pacific via the Panama Canal, or the Mediterranean and Red Seas via the Suez Canal.
  • Of far greater consequence in recent years, the use of ballast water to stabilize ships has led to the introduction of aquatic invasive species like the Chinese mitten crab from Asia to the Thames, the zebra mussel from the Black Sea to North America, and the North American comb jellyfish to the Black Sea
  • The harm done by these species, among many others, has resulted in billions of dollars in damages to municipal infrastructure, native fisheries and coastal habitat.
  • Plastic waste: Historical data tell us that about 75% of coronavirus plastic will likely become waste clogging our landfills and floating in our seas. And the costs are staggering.
  • The negative spill over effects of plastic waste on fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, for example, add up to an estimated $40 billion each year, according to the UN Environment Programme.
  • Microfibers: Plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans.
  • Oil spills: Crude oil lasts for years in the sea and is extremely toxic to marine life, often suffocating marine animals to death once it entraps them. Crude oil is also extremely difficult to clean up, unfortunately meaning that when it is split; it is usually there to stay.
  • Ocean mining in the deep sea is yet another source of ocean pollution. Ocean mining sites drilling for silver, gold, copper, cobalt, and zinc create sulphide deposits up to three and a half thousand meters down into the ocean. The deep-sea mining causes damage to the lowest levels of the ocean and increases the toxicity of the region. This permanent damage dealt also causes leaking, corrosion and oil spills that only drastically further hinder the ecosystem of the region.
  • Littering: Pollution from the atmosphere is, believe it or not, a huge source of ocean pollution. This occurs when objects that are far inland are blown by the wind over long distances and end up in the ocean. These objects can be anything from natural things like dust and sand to man-made objects such as debris and trash. Most debris, especially plastic debris, cannot decompose and remains suspended in the ocean’s current for years

Measures needed:

  • Existing international instruments should be further explored to address plastic pollution. The most important are:
    • The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention).
    • The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol).
    • The 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
  • Recycling and reuse of plastic materials are the most effective actions available to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practiced to manage domestic waste.
  • Governments, research institutions and industries also need to work collaboratively redesigning products, and rethink their usage and disposal, in order to reduce microplastics waste from pellets, synthetic textiles and tyres.
  • Implement renewable energy sources,such as wind or solar power, to limit off-shore drilling.
  • Limit agricultural pesticides and encourage organic farming& eco-friendly pesticide use.
  • Proper sewage treatmentand exploration of eco-friendly wastewater treatment options.
  • Cut down on the industry and manufacturing waste and contain it into landfillsto avoid spillage.
  • Use of Biotechnology:Bioremediation (use of specific microorganisms to metabolize and remove harmful substances) to treat oil spills.
  • At individual level reduce carbon footprint by adopting a “green” lifestyle.
  • Have a global treatyon banning single-use plastics and collaborated effort to clean up the ocean.
  • Identify chemical pollutants hotspots, control the use and release of chemicals in mining, promote recycling of used oil in urban areas.
  • Increase funding for marine pollution prevention and control by introducing market-based incentives, applying the “polluter pays” principle.
  • Public-private partnerships should also be established to provide financing, improve public awareness and develop innovative approaches to reduce marine pollution.

Conclusion

The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. In this context, ocean health must be treated as a global issue and all nations should act in concert to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 i.e. To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The role of maritime trade in shaping the world economy at the local, national, regional and global level is as indisputable as it is complex. We can easily identify positives and negatives in the story of shipborne commerce, but we must view them all in context. Celebrate as we do the indisputable benefits of global shipping, we cannot ignore its adverse impacts. Above all, a proper appreciation of how our world works depends on a basic understanding of the place of sea trade in everyday life.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

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

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Attitude and the processes through which they are formed.

Key Demand of the question:

Define what you understand by Attitude and highlight the processes through which attitudes are formed.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

An attitude is a general and lasting positive or negative opinion or feeling about some person, object, or issue.

Body:

Attitude formation occurs through either direct experience or the persuasion of others or the media. Attitudes have three foundations: affect or emotion, behavior, and cognitions.

Explain that Attitude formation occurs through either direct experience or the persuasion of others or the media. Attitudes have three foundations: affect or emotion, behavior, and cognitions.

Give examples in support of your answer.

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 behavioural 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.

 


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos