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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 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: Africa, Latin America

1. How did adventurers and explorer helped in the scramble for Africa? Discuss with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  World History by Norman Lowe  

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Scramble of Africa.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the role played by adventurers and explorers in the scramble for Africa. Give examples in support.

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 how exploration affected Africa.

Body:

Exploration had a big impact on West Africa. When the Europeans went there the took silver and many other resources from Africa. Another thing that happened was that they were made as slaves from the Europeans and were taken to three different places. They were the United States, Brazil, and The Bahamas.

European exploration of Sub-Saharan Africa begins with the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, pioneered by the Kingdom of Portugal under Henry the Navigator. The European powers were content to establish trading posts along the coast while they were actively exploring and colonizing the New World.

Give relevant examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction

Most European nations had been content to have trading colonies around the coast of Africa. Only the British and the Dutch (referred to as Boers) in South Africa had moved inland and set up new settlements. In 1880 less than five per cent of the continent was ruled by European powers. But within 20 years the situation had changed completely in what is known as the Scramble for Africa.

Body

Seven European nations took control of the whole of Africa apart from Liberia and Ethiopia. They were helped to do this by the opening of the Suez Canal, which linked the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and cut many kilometres off the journey to the east coast of Africa and India.

During the European colonial expansion, they turned to Africa to satisfy their greed for resources, prestige and empire, examining the following factors which pushed imperial powers into Africa.


Economic factors

  • The imperatives of capitalist industrialization—including the demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets—spurred the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa. Thus the primary motivation for European intrusion was economic. (For example Algeria became one of the profitable colonial possession for French goods; resources of Africa, for example Gold and Diamond mines in South Africa, Ivory, rubber, gold, and timber, copper from Congo attracted the colonial powers)
  • Slaves were brought through slave trades for working in the colonies of European powers America, as there was large scale extermination of original inhabitants. The demand of slave trade gradually increased and this led to more expansion by colonial powers in Africa
  • Development of Suez Canal in Egypt by French company in 1869, aroused the interest of colonial powers in the African region and they wanted to safeguard their route to India. Military intervention was done in Egypt on the pretext of protection of Suez Canal and this way Egypt came under British control

Political factors

  • The political impetus derived from the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for pre-eminence. Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were competing for power within European power politics. One way to demonstrate national pre-eminence was through the acquisition of territories around the world, including Africa.
  • When slavery started become hindrance for colonial powers to penetrate interiors of Africa. The colonial powers started promising abolition of slave trade and subsequently went to war with local chiefs and kings to expand, their territorial possession
  • Explorers, Christian missionaries saw Africa as a place for spreading message of Christianity and they were supported by European governments by sending troops.

Social factors

  • As a result of industrialization, major social problems grew in Europe: unemployment, poverty, homelessness, social displacement from rural areas, and so on. These social problems developed partly because not all people could be absorbed by the new capitalist industries. One way to resolve this problem was to acquire colonies and export this “surplus population.” This led to the establishment of settler-colonies in Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and central African areas like Zimbabwe and Zambia. Eventually the overriding economic factors led to the colonization of other parts of Africa.

Course:

  • Increasing rivalry between European powers – Britain, France, Germany etc – meant that they needed more and more markets and sources for cheap raw material.
  • Technological progress – mapping of inland Africa in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, advances in treating deadly diseases like malaria etc – meant that the European powers could finally move inland from the well-established coastal colonies.
  • But this would require costly wars against the native population. So they reached a political settlement where they divided the territory of Africa within themselves with no regard for the wishes of the indigenous people of these lands!
  • The settlement was reached in the Berlin conference of 1884. In 1870, less than 10% of African territory was under European control. By 1914, it had increased to almost 90%! This is known as the scramble of Africa.

Conclusion

The nineteenth century was a period of profound and even revolutionary changes in the political geography of Africa, characterized by the demise of old African kingdoms and empires and their reconfiguration into different political entities. Some of the old societies were reconstructed and new African societies were founded on different ideological and social premises. Consequently, African societies were in a state of flux, and many were organizationally weak and politically unstable. They were therefore unable to put up effective resistance against the European invaders.

 

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. Account for an overview of issues related to gender technology gap and how Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted it. (250 words )

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains how Gender technology gap in South Asia highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and increased inequalities.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for an overview of issues related to gender technology gap and how Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted it.

Directive:

Account – 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 are in agreement with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what Gender gap is.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Present an overview of issue related to gender technology gap and how Covid 19 pandemic has highlighted this.

Discuss the reasons behind this widening gender technology gap.

Explain where India stands and what possible steps should be taken to tackle this issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction

The term “gender technology gap” refers to the idea that males and females have different technology-related attitudes, behaviours, and skills. It is a kind of digital divide which exists between the genders. Access to technology is so crucial to ensure public health and safety. In recent years, health care has largely moved online, and it has resulted in the gender gap in accessing it.

Body:

Gender gap in access to technology

  • According to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) estimates,
    • Around 390 million women in low- and middle-income countries do not have Internet access.
    • In South Asia, only 65% of women own a mobile phone.
    • Whereas, In India, only 14.9% of women were reported to be using the Internet.

Impact of Gender gap in access to technology on women’s access to health services:

  • Vaccine registration usually requires a smartphone or laptop. Men are thus more likely to get timely information and register than women and girls.
  • These gaps prevent women and LGBTQIA+ people from accessing critical services.
  • In India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, for example, fewer women than men received the necessary information to survive COVID-19.

Reasons for Women to have limited access to technology:

  • Partly, the reasons are due to deeply held cultural beliefs.
  • One, it is often believed that women’s access to technology will motivate them to challenge patriarchal societies.

 

  • Two, there is also a belief that women need to be protected, and that online content can be dangerous for women, and it will expose them to risks.
  • As a consequence, girls and women who ask for phones face suspicion and opposition.
  • A study has showed that 50% of women abandon technology careers by the age of 35 and that women are leaving tech roles at a 45% higher rate than men. Only 21% of women in the study said they believed the technology industry was a place they could thrive and that number falls precipitously to 8% for women of colour.
  • The poor access to utilities like electricity often force people to charge their mobile phones outside of the home, which apart from conflicting with social norms around mobility, require women to have the time and money to get to a local store and charge up.
  • The digital gender divide is unlikely to close by itself, given that it is largely driven by normative barrier

Steps being taken to promote gender equality in access to technology:

  • At UN Women, companies are encouraged to sign up and agree to principles that will lead to a more equitable future for all.
  • The Generation Equality Forum has agreed upon the goal to double the number of women and girls, working in technology and innovation.
  • By 2026, they aim to reduce the gender digital divide and ensure universal digital literacy.
  • Further, investments in feminist technology and innovation to support women’s leadership are being pushed forward.
  • The digital empowerment programmes and partnerships such as EQUALS led by UN Women facilitate more girls to choose STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as their academic focus.

Measures needed:

  • To bridge the digital divide, there is a need to accelerate execution.
  • Meaningful collaborations with the private sector, technological innovations and following a consistent focused approach towards the larger objective are necessary.
  • Utilisation of multiple modes of transactions such as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Unified Payment Interface (UPI), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), and Point-of-Sale (POS) machines, need to be strengthened
  • India also needs easing of regulations to allow inter-operability of wallets to ensure easy transfer of funds for merchants as well as for consumers.
  • A framework comprising both is needed:
    • A positive obligation to create infrastructure for a minimum standard and quality of Internet access as well as capacity-building measures which would allow all citizens to be digitally literate.
    • A negative obligation to protect citizen’s right to privacy.
  • The government should invest the resources saved by moving services online, to create Digital infrastructure.
  • The definition of digital literacy today must include the ability to access and act upon resources and information found online.
  • Internet access and digital literacy are dependent on each other, and creation of digital infrastructure must go hand in hand with the creation of digital skills.
  • Apart from it, there is a need to strengthen telecom regulations, so as to ensure market competition and make the internet affordable to all.
  • Zero-rated services for mobile data access, could be an intermediate step to fully open and affordable Internet access for the poorest, provided that the choice of selecting services is transparent and inclusive.

Way forward: Neutral world of technology

  • Today, most technologies that are available are created by men, for men, and do not necessarily meet everyone’s requirements. To establish a Neutral world of technology, Companies should start investing in Women related technologies.
  • For example,businesses can design apps specifically towards mothers or apps for women to access telemedicine consultation or digital networks to connect women to informal job opportunities, etc.,
  • Other than apps, built-in features on mobile phones, such as an emergency button connecting women to law enforcement, should also be considered.
  • Companies can benefit hugely if they target Women related technologies because Women and girls are the largest consumer groups left out of technology.
  • According to GSMA, closing the gender gap in mobile Internet usage in low- and middle-income countries would increase GDP by U.S.$700 billion over the next five years.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3. Elucidate upon India’s foreign policy priority to Africa and also examine the need for revamping India-Africa policy to deepen its ties for mutual benefits. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the need for India to make new commitments, developing and deepening links in health, space and digital technologies with respect to its foreign policy.

Key Demand of the question:

Talk about India’s priority with respect to Africa in its foreign policy and the need for revamping India-Africa policy to deepen its ties for mutual benefits.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of India’s foreign policy.

Body:

Briefly discuss the ties between India-Africa from past to present.

Explain that the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the worst humanitarian and economic crisis faced by the world, but its effects stand to be much more devastating, particularly for Africa, where economic and public health conditions are extremely vulnerable.

In the 21st century, Africa has transformed from a lost continent to a continent of hope. Subsequently, in recent years, Africa occupies a central place in the Indian government’s foreign and economic policy.

In the context of the current crisis, India has demonstrated its willingness and capacity to shoulder more responsibility in cooperating with Africa to recover from the current crisis and lend support in its overall growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

India and Africa have a long and rich history of interaction marked by cultural, economic and political exchanges based on the principle of south cooperation. In the recent years a number of steps have been taken to further strengthen these relations.

The foundations were laid by Mahatma Gandhi. According to him, there will be a “commerce of ideas and services and not of raw materials and goods like imperialist powers”. The present government continues to take this approach as the foundation of India’s Africa Policy.

The historical engagements of India with Africa:

  • India’s relationship with South Africa is both fundamental and unique, dating back several centuries and is anchored in common ideals, ideas, interests, and icons – like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela
  • Historically, India has been part of Africa’s movement of self-rule, growth story, development and capacity building which are marked by mutual respect and affection at the grass-roots level. Indian diaspora has been instrumental in the developmental journey of the continent over four-to-five generations
  • No wonder Africa gifted Mahatma Gandhi back to India transforming him from a mere Barrister to an intrepid fighter against injustice and colonialism.
  • Even though India has stood for the cause of Africa since her own independence and even before that its concerted engagement has been somewhat ad hoc in nature until she decided to institutionalize the cooperation through India-Africa Forum Summits (IAFS) when specific targets were established and a SWOT analysis was done.
  • Last IAFS witnessed the largest ever participation from 54 countries at the highest level when major announcements for Lines of Credits, Grants and Capacity Building programmes were announced.
  • The idea of a shared historical experience marked by Western exploitation, is an important factor in the relationship.
  • India as a previous British colony shares a history of anti- colonial struggle with Africa.
  • It was also the first country to take the issue of racial discrimination in South Africa to the United Nations. At the same time, India was a forerunner as a champion of the interests of the developing countries, including those from Africa, particularly through the Bandung Declaration of 1955, the Group of 77, and the Non-aligned Movement (NAM).

Nature of the relationship so far:

  • India’s Africa policy over the past few decades has oscillated between passive and reluctantly reactive at best. Strategic apathy toward the continent was obvious on many fronts.
  • Most of the countries in Africa did not feature in India’s larger foreign policy matrix, but until recently there wasn’t any significant attention paid to the continent.
  • Indian leaders seldom travelled to African nations.
  • The narrative of India’s contemporary relationship with Africa is dominated by the historicity of their interactions. The century old trade partnerships, socio-cultural linkages built by a thriving diaspora, nationalist movements during the Nehruvian era that supported anti-imperial struggles, and shifting geopolitical tides with the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM).
  • Beyond this rhetoric, what kept driving this relationship forward was the acquisition of critical assets by State Owned Enterprises (SOE) looking to diversify the energy basket away from West Asian nations and other commercial ventures by Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Multi-National Companies (MNC).

Importance of Africa for India:

Geostrategic:

  • Africa is critical to India’s security, especially the Horn of Africa region, because of its proximity with India. The threat of radicalism, piracy, organized crime emerge from this region

Economic:

  • Africa can help us in diversifying our energy sources, which is one of the stated objective of our Integrated Energy Policy
  • Africa also contains rich reservoir of valuable minerals, metals including gold and diamond
  • Africa provides a space for Indian investment
  • Africa has ample agricultural land which cab address India’s food security. India is looking at leasing land in Africa to overcome the land deficit that we face in terms of arable land

Geopolitical:

  • Support of African countries is important for India’s aim of gaining a permanent seat in UNSC
  • Africa provides a space for displaying both India’s soft and hard power
  • India has been actively involved in peace and stability of African countries through UN Peace keeping operations. India is involved in capacity building of African countries. Africa is also the largest beneficiary of India’s ITEC programme.

The relationship changed and there are areas where both India and Africa can work together:

  • Currently, India’s forte in the continent has been developmental initiatives such as Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Team 9, and Pan Africa e-network among others are aimed at building institutional and human capacity as well as enabling skills and knowledge transfer.
  • Conscious attempt at evoking morality to reflect an “alternate model of development” by using terms such as “win-win cooperation” to describe New Delhi’s approach to Africa.
  • One of the new trends in this relationship has also been the role played by sub-national organizations and state governments that have been crafting independent relationships with African counterparts.
  • For example, Kerala is planning on importing Cashew from African countries for its processing plants that are running low on raw material.
  • Similarly, Ethiopia and South Africa are working with Kudumbashree, a self-help group created by the Government of Kerala aimed at eradicating poverty and empowering women, to find ways to localize and adapt the model in their respective countries.
  • A unique factor that sets Indian interactions apart is that there is palpable goodwill for people of Indian origin, a sense of familiarity and cultural connection, with Bollywood movies and songs often acting as a bridge.

China’s role:

  • Whereas India’s policy has focused on job creation in the countries it has invested in, China has tended to bring in its own labour causing resentment among the locals.
  • The Chinese model has often been criticized for creating huge debts for the nation in which it sets up projects, the Nairobi-Mombasa rail link being one example of this.
  • The $ 4 billion project has left Kenya with enormous debts and the Chinese military base in Djibouti has raised fears that Beijing is abandoning its non-interference policy in the region

Role of Indian businesses:

  • Indian businesses are active across geographic spaces and sectors in Africa. Agri-business, engineering, construction, film distribution, cement, plastics, and ceramics manufacturing, advertising, marketing, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunication are only some of the sectors that have Indian players.

Way Forward:

  • First, we need to take direct control of our development programme instead of handing our funds to intermediaries whose priorities are often different from India’s.
  • To make an impact, our aid should be disbursed bilaterally and aligned with national priorities of the recipient state, which should be a substantial stakeholder and co-investor in schemes and projects from initiation to operation.
  • Second, India’s development assistance should prefer the countries with its substantial interests, both existing and potential.
  • For instance, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Angola and Algeria are India’s top six trading partners in Africa, accounting for nearly two-thirds of its trade and half its exports to the continent; yet, they do not figure commensurately in India’s developmental pecking order.
  • India’s own needs for raw materials, commodities and markets should be factored in its aid calculus.
  • Third, we ought to prefer aiding countries which are willing to help us from access to their natural resources to using our generics.
  • Fourth, the aided project selected should be compatible with local requirements. They should be cost-effective, scalable, future ready and commercially replicable.
  • Fifth, for greater transparency, India should prefer its public sector to implement the aid projects.
  • Sixth, the Indian Head of Mission in the recipient African state must be an integral part of the aid stream including project selection, co-ordination and implementation.
  • Apart from empowering our diplomacy, this would ensure better harmonization between our aid and economic objectives.
  • Finally, the aforementioned should not distract us from our duty to provide the needed humanitarian assistance to Africa: to be rendered promptly and with sensitivity, but without noise.

Conclusion:

The goodwill that our country draws from such linkages is unimaginable. Our partnership with Africa is beyond strategic concerns and economic benefits. It is based on the emotional bonds we share and the solidarity we feel.PM Modi, in his speech to Ugandan Parliament in 2019 has said that India’s priority is not just Africa; India’s priority is Africans — every man, woman and child in Africa. Our shared values and our friendship represent a constant as well as ignite a continuity.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. Discuss the issues with implementation of blended learning as proposed by the UGC. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The recent circular by the University Grants Commission (UGC) proposing the shift to a blended learning (BL) approach under which the higher educational institutions (HEI) would teach 40% of any course online and the rest 60% offline is in news.

Key Demand of the question:

Present your arguments for the challenges that may come in way for implementing the blended learning program as proposed by the UGC.

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 what Blended mode of Education.

Body:

Explain the Blended mode of teaching and its advantages.

Highlight the challenges associated; All India Survey on Higher Education (2019-20) report shows that 60.56% of the 42,343 colleges in India are located in rural areas and 78.6% are privately managed.

Only big corporates are better placed to invest in technology and provide such learning.

Second, according to datareportal statistics, Internet penetration in India is only 45% as of January 2021.

This policy will only exacerbate the existing geographical and digital divide.

The listening part and subsequent interactions with the teacher may get minimised.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

A recent circular by the University Grants Commission (UGC) proposed a blended learning mode wherein all higher educational institutions (HEI) should teach 40% of any course online and the rest 60% offline

Body

Benefits of Blended learning (BL) as stated by UGC:

  • Paves the way for increased student engagement in learning
  • Enhanced student-teacher interactions
  • Improved student learning outcomes
  • More flexible teaching and learning environments
  • Increased opportunity for institutional collaborations at a distance
  • Enhanced self-learning

Benefits of Blended learning (BL) to teachers 

  • It shifts the role of the teacher from being a “knowledge provider to a coach and mentor”. This will enable teachers to have a greater influence and effect on students’ learning.
  • Further, as against traditional classroom instruction which is “teacher-directed, top-down, and one-size-fits-all”, Blended learning is “student-driven, bottom-up, and customized”.
  • Blended learning introduces flexibility in assessment and evaluation patterns as well.

Challenges in Blended learning

  • Majority colleges in rural areas: The latest All India Survey on Higher Education (2019-20) report shows that 56% of the 42,343 colleges in India are located in rural areasand 78.6% are privately managed.
  • Poor internet penetration:Internet penetration in India is only 45% as of January 2021. This policy will only worsen the existing geographical and digital divide resulting in the exclusion of a large number of rural students.
  • All-round development hampered: Blended learning leaves little room for the all-round formation of the student that includes the development of their intelligent quotient, emotional quotient, social quotient, physical quotient and spiritual quotient.
  • Dropout rates might increase: Blended learning mode assumes that all students who enter the arena of higher education have similar learning styles and have a certain amount of digital literacy to cope with the suggested learning strategies of BL. This is far from true.
  • Education in India is driven by a teacher-centred approach. Expecting these students to switch over quickly to collaborative and technology-enabled learning will be stressful for them. It may increase the existing dropout rate in higher education.

Recommendations to improve Blended learning

Given these challenges, it is worth considering a few recommendations.

  • Equity in access: The government should ensure equity in access to technology and bandwidth for all HEIs across the country free of cost.
  • Digital training for teachers: Massive digital training programmes must be arranged for teachers.
  • Appointment of new teachers: Even the teacher-student ratio needs to be readjusted to implement BL effectively. This may require the appointment of a greater number of teachers.
  • Curriculum design: The design of the curriculum should be decentralized and based on a bottom-up approach.
  • Also, switching over from a teacher-centric mode of learning at schools to the BL mode at the tertiary level will be difficult for learners. Hence, the government must think of overhauling the curriculum at the school level as well.
  • More power with state governments: More power in such education-related policymaking should be vested with the State governments.
  • Periodic feedback and discussion: Finally, periodical discussions, feedback mechanisms and support services at all levels would revitalize the implementation of the learning programme of the National Education Policy 2020 and BL. It’ll lead to the realization of the three fundamental principles of education policy: access, equity and quality.

Conclusion

Given the emergence of digital technologies and the emerging importance of leveraging technology for teaching- learning at all levels from schools to higher education focus on learning outcomes and the learner centred instructional environment is the need of the hour.

 

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

5. Do you think it’s time for India to venture into third generation reforms? Explain and identify the broad contours of third generation reforms. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The article explains that it is time for third generation reforms in India.  

Key Demand of the question:

Explain and identify the broad contours of third generation reforms.

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:

Start with what you understand by Third generation reforms.

Body:

Discuss and present brief background on first and second generation reforms and their understand major criticisms.

Identify the broad contours of third generation reforms such as significantly improving both the quality and scale of public services, enhancement of government’s own technocratic competence and implementation capacity, enhancement of investment levels, setting up growth-promoting governmental institutions while also incentivizing the private sector among others. In India’s development journey, two major policy departures in its approach to growth and development stand out. We are at a similar crossroads, and it is time to usher in a third generation of reforms.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The third generation of reform were announced around the Launch of 10th Five Year Plan and they commit to the cause of a fully functional Panchayati Raj Institution (PRIs), so that the benefits of economic reforms, can reach to the grassroots; and has an objective to make the reform process more inclusive. This Generation of Reform focusses on creating World Class Infrastructure and creating, encouraging and nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship.

the third generation of economic reforms needs a special resolve to deliver efficient public services, particularly focused on the long-neglected social needs related to nutrition and health services, primary and secondary schooling, a major quality upgrade of tertiary education, water supply and sanitation, other public infrastructure and urban development; all public services that need enhanced government expenditure and technical competence and ability to deliver.

Body

Evaluation of the economic reforms so far:

  • The first generation of economic reforms took place soon after Independence.
  • This was based on planning and import substitution.
  • India’s growth witnessed a notable acceleration from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, a significant transformation from stagnation of the past.
  • This was followed by policy sclerosis, resulting in a growth downturn over an equivalent period till the late 1970s.
  • The much delayed second generation of economic reforms finally began in 1991, and was again characterised by a growth-oriented approach.
  • India was finally catching up with the prevailing global predominant thinking on development strategy — an open economy market-oriented framework.
  • Fuelled by higher savings and investment, the economy ascended to a higher growth path of around 7% annual GDP growth over the next two decades.
  • Industrial and export growth accelerated, along with a comfortable and stable external sector, and poverty reduced significantly.

Need for the third generation reforms:

  • The development engine started sputtering from the early 2010s.
  • The slowdown is broad-based across all the sectors, agriculture, industry, and services.
  • India’s economy is in trouble once again and hence needs a major reboot.
  • There has been an inadequate generation of quality employment for the increasing Indian labour force throughout the development process.
  • There seems to have been almost no net generation of jobs over the past 15 years or so.
  • There is a need now is a special thrust to promote employment-intensive export-oriented manufacturing, which will need continued openness and not increased protection.

Third generation reforms – a way forward:

  • The third generation of economic reforms must focus on improving the government’s own competence, both administrative and technical, at all levels.
  • the third generation of economic reforms must focus on a similar empowerment of the public sector to deliver growth-enhancing public goods and services for the benefit of all segments of the public, private sector, and corporate entities alike.
  • The “public sector” encompasses all levels of governments from the local, state to national, and their entities which deliver public goods and services, and includes regulatory and standard-setting authorities. They all need to be strengthened.
  • The way forward is not so much to restrict this private provision, but to improve significantly both the quality of public services leading to greater trust in the provision of these services, and their scale and quantity to promote universal accessibility.
  • This would free up money in the hands of the less well-off for enhanced demand for growth, promoting other essential goods and services.
  • There must be a renewed clear understanding that it is the government’s role to deliver public goods and services that only it can provide, and that such services cannot and should not be privatised.
  • There is a need to emphasise the role of the State in promoting economic growth.
  • Countries that have been most successful in maintaining high sustained growth rates have done so by setting up growth-promoting governmental institutions to coordinate public investments, while also incentivising the private sector to make investments necessary for a growing, dynamic economy.
  • Niti Aayog needs to be strengthened technically, and in its powers to perform such a role.

 

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

6. The Tamil Nadu government’s decision to spurn the practice of the term ‘Central government’ in its official communications and replace it with ‘Union government’ is a key step towards regaining the consciousness of our Constitution. Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Tamil Nadu’s decision to replace the term ‘Central government’ with the Union government in its official communications and significance with respect to no mention of the term in Indian constitution.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the impact of the recent decision taken by the Tamil Nadu government.

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:

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to shun the usage of the term ‘Central government’ in its official communications and replace it with ‘Union government’.

Body:

After going through the 395 Articles in 22 Parts and eight Schedules in the original Constitution, it can be stated that the term ‘Centre’ or ‘Central government’ is nowhere used.

Even though there is no reference to the ‘Central government’ in the original Constitution, the General Clauses Act, 1897 gives a definition for it.

Therefore, the real question is whether such definition for ‘Central government’ is constitutional as the Constitution itself does not approve of centralizing power.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the term ‘Union government’ has a unifying effect. And that such a discussion will provoke consciousness of the constitution.

Introduction

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to shun the usage of the term ‘Central government’ in its official communications and replace it with ‘Union government’. After going through the 395 Articles in 22 Parts and eight Schedules in the original Constitution, it can be stated that the term ‘Centre’ or ‘Central government’ is nowhere used.

Body

Even though there is no reference to the ‘Central government’ in the original Constitution, the General Clauses Act, 1897 gives a definition for it. Therefore, the real question is whether such definition for ‘Central government’ is constitutional as the Constitution itself does not approve of centralising power

Difference between Union & Centre

  • According to constitution expert Subhash Kashyap, from the point of the usage of the words, ‘centre’ indicates a point in the middle of a circle, whereas ‘Union’ is the whole circle.
  • In India, the relationship between the so-called ‘Centre’ and States, as per the Constitution, is actually a relationship between the whole and its parts.
  • The sharing of powers between the Union and the States is not restricted to the executive organ of the government, it extends to other organs of government also.
  • For instance, the judiciary is designed in the Constitution to ensure that the Supreme Court, the tallest court in the country, has no superintendence over the High Court.
  • Though the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction — not only over High Courts but also over other courts and tribunals — they are not declared to be subordinate to it.
  • In fact, the High Courts have wider powers to issue prerogative writs despite having the power of superintendence over the district and subordinate courts.
  • Parliament and Assemblies identify their boundaries and are circumspect to not cross their boundaries when it comes to the subject matter on which laws are made.

Associated Issues with the Term Central Government

  • Discarded by Constituent Assembly:The word ‘Centre’ is not used in the Constitution; the makers of the Constitution specifically discarded it and instead used the word ‘Union’.

·         BR Ambedkar clarified that “Both the Union and the States are created by the Constitution, both derive their respective authority from the Constitution. According to him, the one is not subordinate to the other in its own field and the authority of one is to coordinate with that of the other”.

  • Colonial Legacy:‘Centre’ is a hangover from the colonial period because the bureaucracy in the Secretariat, New Delhi), who are used to using the word ‘Central Laws,’ ‘Central legislature,’ etc., and so everyone else, including the media, started using the word.
  • Conflict with Idea of Federalism:India is a federal government. The power to govern is divided between a government for the whole country, which is responsible for subjects of common national interest, and the states, which look after the detailed day-to-day governing of the state.
  • According to Subhash Kashyap, using the term ‘Centre’ or ‘central government’ would mean state governments are subservient to it.

The members of the Constituent Assembly were very cautious of not using the word ‘Centre’ or ‘Central government’ in the Constitution as they intended to keep away the tendency of centralising of powers in one unit. The ‘Union government’ or the ‘Government of India’ has a unifying effect as the message sought to be given is that the government is of all.

Conclusion

Seventy-one years since we adopted the constitution, it is time we regained the original intent of our founding fathers beautifully etched in the parchment as Article 1: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. Bring out Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the Gandhian philosophy of Means and Ends.  

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the concept of Means and Ends.

Body:

Briefly define Means and Ends. In simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals. There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense.

Explain Gandhian perspective on the relative importance of Means and Ends.

Gandhiji’s views on ends and means hold ground in view of the fact that India, after gaining independence through his methods of satyagraha, adopted his principle of Sarvodaya (progress of all) and became the largest democracy in the world.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

In simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals. There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense. Consequentialism focuses on judging the moral worth of the results of the actions and Deontological ethics on judging the actions themselves.

Body:

Gandhiji’s views on means and ends:

  • Gandhi seems to stand almost alone among social and political thinkers in his firm rejection of the rigid dichotomy between ends and means and in his extreme moral preoccupation with the means to the extent that they rather than the ends provide the standard of reference.
  • He was led to this position by his early acceptance of Satya and ahimsa, truth and nonviolence, as twin moral absolutes and his consistent view of their relationship.
  • He said “The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.”
  • According to Gandhi our attention should be primarily focused on means because, as a very famous adage goes, as we sow so shall we reap. He was a strong believer of the rule of Karma.
  • Although we can choose our ends, we do not have much control over it – we cannot know in advance whether these ends will be achieved. The only thing that is completely within our control is therefore the means with which we approach our various ends.
  • It is not the end that we can work with but only means. Different means will lead to different ends.
  • This is not to say that both violence and non-violence cannot both lead to the independence of a country, but that the country thus created will be one based on violence if the means are violent and pacific if the means are non-violent.
  • Violence and non-violence cannot be different means to secure the same end; since they are morally different in quality and essence, they must necessarily achieve different results.

Gandhiji practiced the purity of means throughout his life and is evident through the following:

  • Gandhi withdrew the first large scale mass movement “Non-cooperation movement”, because of one single ‘Chauri Chaura incident’ because the incident deviated from his Non-violence stance and he immediately called off the movement despite criticism.
  • The Seven Sins philosophy also emphasises on Importance of Means. For example, in the list of sins – Politics without Principles, Wealth without Work, Worship without Sacrifice, etc., the former are the ends whereas the latter symbolises means which imply that Ends are of lesser value without the desired means.
  • Gandhi’s notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest. Which stands for Deontological ethics i.e. putting dignity of an Individual over narrow definition of democracy.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a capable leader but a great thinker as well. His Philosophy can be summed up in his words- “Means are after all, everything’. As the means so the end…”. According to Gandhiji, if we are sure of the “purity” of the means we employ, we shall be led on by faith, before which “all fear and trembling melt away”. Unconcern with results does not mean that we need not have a clear conception of the end in view.


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