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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 July 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 – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

1. Discuss the Geo-Strategic importance of Maldives to India. (250 words)

Reference:  thediplomat.com

Why the question:

Maldives holds strategic importance for India under the government’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy due to its location in the Indian Ocean. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the Geo-Strategic importance of Maldives to India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of India and Maldives relations.

Body:

First explain that while India-Maldives relations have always been close, cordial and multi-dimensional, recent regime instability in the Maldives has posed some limitations, especially in the political & strategic arena. Therefore, the main challenge to India’s diplomacy is balancing out all these contradictions into harmonious relations.

Expound on Geo-Strategic importance of Maldives to India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that in accordance with the “Neighbourhood First” policy of the government, India remains a committed development partner for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Maldives.

Introduction:

Maldives is strategically located in the Indian Ocean. Maldives archipelago, comprising of 1,200 coral islands, lies next to key shipping lanes which ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to countries like India, China and Japan. Though small, the Maldives is India’s important neighbour and a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood.

India-Maldives ties are built on a very strong foundation, the contours of which are defined by shared strategic, security, economic and developmental goals.

Body:

Importance of Maldives for India:

  •  The Maldives, long a popular tourist destination, has grown in strategic importance in recent years as China and India to establish their influence in the region, and as Beijing pushes ahead with its global trade and infrastructure plan.
  • Spread over nearly 1,200 islands spanning more than 90,000 sq. km, key shipping lanes where Beijing and New Delhi compete to pursue their often-conflicting maritime strategies pass through this tiny Indian Ocean nation.
  • Though small, the Maldives is India’s important neighbour. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Maldives “a valued partner in the Indian Ocean neighbourhood”.
  • India-Maldives “ties are built on a very strong foundation” the contours of which are defined by shared strategic, security, economic and developmental goals.
  • However, the bilateral ties are not without irritants, which can be seen in two broad areas: political and strategic.

Geo-strategic Importance of Maldives:

  • Geographical Proximity: Strategic geography defines the geo-strategic importance of Maldives far beyond its physical size. Despite being the smallest Asian country with a land area of just 300 sq. km. and a population of around 480,000, Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries straddling a 960-km-long submarine ridge running north to south and which forms a wall in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
  • Value Addition: The one-time claim of Maldives to Minicoy Island was resolved by the Maritime Boundary Treaty of 1976 between the two countries, whereby Maldives has recognized Minicoy as an integral part of India.
  • Close to Commercial Sea lines of Communication: Located at the southern and northern parts of this island chain are the only two passages through which ships can pass safely. Both these sea lanes of communication (SLOCs) are critical for maritime trade flow between the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Hormuz in West Asia and the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia. While the Indian Ocean is considered as the key highway for global trade and energy flow, Maldives virtually stands as a toll gate.
  • Free and Open Indian Ocean: Since China started to send naval ships to Indian Ocean roughly 10 years ago — and right up to Gulf of Aden in the name of antipiracy operations — Maldives’ significance has steadily grown and now it’s at the heart of international geopolitics.
  • Cog in the wheel: As the pre-eminent South Asian power and a ‘net security provider’ in the Indian Ocean region, India needs to cooperate with Maldives in security and defence sectors.
  • Radicalization and Threat of Terrorism: Under Yameen, radicalisation grew rapidly and it was often said that archipelago accounted for one of the highest numbers of foreign fighters in Syria in terms of per capita. India can ill-afford a neighbour which fails to check Islamic radicalisation.
  • Indian Diaspora: Indians are the second largest expatriate community in Maldives with an approximate strength of around 25,000 (accounting for ~5.6% of Maldivian population). Close cooperation with Maldives is also important for safety & security of Indians staying in Maldives
  • Multi-lateral Forum: Maldives is also a member of SAARC. It is important for India to have Maldives on board to maintain its leadership in the region. Maldives was the only SAARC country which seemed reluctant to follow India’s call for boycott of SAARC summit in Pakistan after the Uri attack.
  • Cultural connect: India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial links. India was among the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Male in 1972.
  • Importance of India for Maldivians: India is also a preferred destination for Maldivians for education, medical treatment, recreation and business. According to MEA, more and more Maldivians are seeking long term visa for pursuing higher studies/medical treatment in India.

However, the Bilateral ties between Maldives and India under previous President Yameen was on a downward curve and deteriorating. It was with the Maldivian Democratic Party’s return to power in late 2018 that India-Maldives relations warmed again, especially in the field of defence.

Way forward:

  • India-Maldives defence cooperation will enhance India’s capability to monitor Chinese maritime and naval movements along vital sea lanes of communication that run alongside the Maldives.
  • In accordance with the “Neighbourhood First Policy” of the government, India remains a committed development partner for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Maldives.
  • India can engage with Maldives to establish much more friendly relations to protect the safety and security of entire Indian Ocean region.
  • India can stand together with the aspirations of citizens of neighbouring countries and the prospects of a long-term sustainable relationship will be much brighter.

 

Topic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

2. Despite large scale usage, the Aadhaar system still has some inherent disadvantages in the country, critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article brings to us the issues and concerns around Aadhaar and its architectural flaws.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse in what way despite large scale usage, the Aadhaar system still has some inherent disadvantages in the country.

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 a brief on Aadhaar system.

Body:

Discuss the concerns associated with Aadhaar system such as – The problem is that the only record many people have of their Aadhaar number is their Aadhaar card. If they lose the card, then they might not be able to retrieve their Aadhaar number. The UIDAI website gave clear instructions on how to retrieve a lost Aadhaar number, but only for those who have a registered mobile or email address in the Aadhaar database.

Explain other concerns associated with it.

Suggest what can be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Aadhaar number is a 12-digit random number issued by the UIDAI Authority under Aadhaar Act to the residents of India after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority. Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident of India, may voluntarily enrol to obtain Aadhaar number. There are now 1.24 billion Aadhaar numbers in India, covering approximately 98% of the country’s population (using 2011 Census projections).

The recent ordeal of a poor Musahar woman, Reena Devi, exposes a serious flaw in Aadhaar’s architecture: Some people are unable to retrieve their Aadhaar number if they have lost it.

Body

Aadhaar and welfare delivery:

  • In 2016, the government mandated its use in welfare programme delivery.
  • Proponents argue that Aadhaar, by providing a unique identity and allowing biometric authentication, delivers the gains to actual beneficiaries, instead of fake or duplicates, thereby cutting leakages.
  • The expansion in reach has enabled Aadhaar to become an integral component of several flagship government programmes.
  • This includes the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the public distribution system (PDS), two of India’s largest welfare programmes where nearly 90% of beneficiaries are linked to Aadhaar (Aadhaar-seeded).
  • Jan-Dhan accounts, which are Aadhaar-seeded, are now being used for programme delivery via direct benefit transfer (DBT) and are part of the much-vaunted JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity.
  • The 2014-15 Economic Survey heralded JAM as a potential game changer because DBT through JAM can circumvent corrupt intermediaries and reduce market distortions.
  • Over the last two years, DBT has significantly picked up. In 2018-19, ₹2 trillion (around 8% of total government expenditure) was delivered through DBT into beneficiary accounts according to the DBT Mission. Within this, transfers for MGNREGS and PAHAL (the LPG subsidy) are the largest components.
  • The DBT Mission estimates that Aadhaar and DBT have helped save the government around ₹1.2 trillion since 2014.

Case study: Jharkhand, where not having Aadhaar could starve you to death:

  • Around half-a-dozen people have allegedly died of starvation in Jharkhand in the last six months.
  • Most of them were reportedly denied rations from the Public Distribution System shops for failing to have Aadhaar-based biometric authentication.
  • Two women in different districts in Jharkhand died of alleged starvation last week, prompting Chief Minister to order a probe.
  • The government reports said the women were sick; family members claimed they died of hunger.

Concerns:

  • Inclusion-Exclusion errors:
    • The government claims that Aadhaar has generated savings by eliminating duplicate and fake beneficiaries. However, savings could simply be a result of Aadhaar excluding genuine beneficiaries.
    • In a 2017 study published in the Economic and Political Weekly, economist Jean Dreze and others pointed out that Aadhaar-based authentication in Jharkhand’s PDS has led to serious exclusion problems and prevented vulnerable groups, such as widows and the elderly, from accessing their entitlements.
    • State of Aadhaar Report 2017-18, IDinsight, a development consultancy, uses survey data from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal to estimate that around two million individuals every month are excluded from the PDS because of Aadhaar-related reasons.
  • Privacy and Security concerns:
    • Most developed countries have already dropped the idea of having Aadhaar-like identification system to protect people’s privacy.
    • Even the US, one of the first countries in the world to have a national identification number for its citizens, does not collect fingerprints or scan iris to create social security number (SSN)
    • Unlike India, the US has a privacy law that makes it unlawful for government agencies to deny benefits just because the individual refuses to disclose his SSN.
  • Systemic corruption still persists:
    • Aadhaar-based authentication increases transaction costs, including time spent collecting grains, and did little to decrease corruption in the PDS
  • Technical flaws:
    • Aadhaar-related reasons tend to be failures in biometric authentication (for example, fingerprints not being recognized) and connectivity issues, which are particularly acute in rural areas.
    • Given these problems, the shift to Aadhaar-based authentication in the PDS has not enjoyed universal support. For instance, in Andhra Pradesh only 55% of beneficiaries’ preferred Aadhaar authentication in the PDS, while in Rajasthan the figure was 67%.
  • Global impacts not considered:
    • The PAHAL savings estimate (₹56,000 crore) does not account for a slump in global oil prices since 2014. The bigger problem, though, is the lack of clarity about the source of Aadhaar-related savings.

Way forward:

Policy measures:

  • Government should assure the citizens that it has the technology and systems to protect the data collected.
  • It should assure the citizens of India that it will do everything possible to prevent unauthorised disclosure of or access to such data.
  • It should recognise all dimensions of the right to privacy and address concerns about data safety, protection from unauthorised interception, surveillance, use of personal identifiers and bodily privacy.
  • Supreme Court’s recent judgement in the Aadhaar case makes Aadhaar mandatory for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies as it empowers the poor and marginalised.
  • An independent and participatory review of the system is long overdue
  • A data protection law with strong protective provisions is need of the hour.

Technological measures:

  • Designating UID databases as “critical infrastructure”.
  • Crafting an encryption policy that specifically addresses encryption for Aadhaar-enabled apps.  Security testing of all Aadhaar-enabled applications.
  • Encouraging device-level encryption for mobile phones and laptop computers.
  • Creating a Computer Emergency Response Team to monitor attacks on Aadhaar.
  • Working with the private sector at forums like the International Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and the Internet Engineering Task Force to create interoperable security standards for platforms relying on national identity databases.

Conclusion:

Policymakers should focus more on beneficiary experience and the context in which programmes operate in. This, more than fiscal savings, should inform how Aadhaar is deployed to improve programme delivery.

 

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

3. Explain the main reasons behind increasing vaccine nationalism across the world. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

This article depicts the main reasons behind increasing vaccine nationalism.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the main reasons behind increasing vaccine nationalism across the world.

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 the definition of what vaccine nationalism is. 

Body:

Explain how the current world order operates under the principle of national sovereignty and national interest, as witnessed by emerging vaccine nationalism during the pandemic. Nonetheless, a better world can be created if the international order is redesigned around the concept of humanity.

Then discuss why vaccine nationalism is being practiced by countries with main focus on national interest.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the countries must work with each other in a humane manner. This involves cooperation built on trust, compassion, friendship, and conversation that can create a more equitable world.

Introduction:

Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries. This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer. Instead of working together to craft and implement a global strategy, a growing number of countries are taking a “my nation first” approach to developing and distributing potential vaccines or other pharmaceutical treatments.

The United States has now twice indicated that it would like to secure priority access to doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Other countries, including India and Russia, have taken similar stances. This prioritisation of domestic markets has become known as vaccine nationalism.

Body:

Instances of Vaccine Nationalism:

  • Paul Hudson, the CEO of Sanofi, said that the United States “has the right to the largest pre-order” of a vaccine due to the investment agreement the company signed in February with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Protests from European Union officials forced Sanofi to backtrack.
  • The chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest producer of vaccine doses, said most of its vaccine “would have to go to our countrymen before it goes abroad.”
  • AstraZeneca reported that due to the U.K.’s $79 million investment, the first 30 million doses of the vaccine it’s developing with the University of Oxford would be allocated to that country. Then, on May 21,2020 the United States pledged as much as $1.2 billion to the company in order to obtain at least 300 million doses, with the first to be delivered as early as October. The pledge to AstraZeneca is part of the USA’s Operation Warp Speed for securing vaccines for Americans as early as possible.

Reasons for increasing Vaccine Nationalism:

  • The present race to hoard Covid-19 vaccines harks back to a similar situation that happened in 2009 during the H1N1 flu pandemic.
  • The motivation behind these actions seems entirely sensible: Increase domestic control of crucial medical supplies.
  • early moves by rich countries to monopolize vaccine supplies
  • measures in India to slow the production of vaccines for export
  • a push in the U.S. to reduce reliance on international medical supply chains.
  • Vaccine nationalism is legal. In spite of the profound allocative unfairness it causes, vaccine nationalism relies on the use of permissible contractual frameworks.
  • Interestingly, even though vaccine nationalism runs against global public health principles, there are no provisions in international laws that prevent pre-purchase agreements.

Challenges posed by Vaccine nationalism:

  • Unequal access:
    • Vaccine nationalism is harmful for equitable access to vaccines.
    • It further disadvantages countries with fewer resources and bargaining power.
    • It deprives populations in the Global South from timely access to vital public health goods.
    • Taken to its extreme, it allocates vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.
    • COVID-19 has already taken a higher toll on black and Latino populations.
  • Price rise:
    • It will lead to hike in the price of drugs.
    • Such a price may mean that fewer citizens and residents especially those who are uninsured or underinsured would have access to the vaccine.
  • Monopoly:
    • Does any government deserve to obtain exclusive rights for a vaccine that may be priced too high?
    • Most vaccine development projects involve several parties from multiple countries.
    • With modern vaccines, there are very few instances in which a single country can claim to be the sole developer of a vaccine.
  • Global issue:
    • And even if that were possible, global public health is borderless. As COVID-19 is illustrating, viruses can travel the globe.
  • Inequality and poverty:
    • If COVID-19 vaccines are not made available affordably to those who need them, the consequences will likely be disproportionately severe for poorer or otherwise vulnerable and marginalised populations.
    • Without broad access to a vaccine, these populations will likely continue to suffer more than others, leading to unnecessary disease burden, continued economic problems and potential loss of life.

Way forward:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy and needs global solidarity.
  • Sharing finite supplies strategically and globally is actually in each country’s national interest.
  • Need to have a multilateral or global approach to vaccine deployment and distribution, rather than a more nationalistic approach.
  • It is important to ensure that people around the world have access in an equitable way.
  • There has to be prioritisation for high-risk groups in all countries, especially in the least developed, low-and middle-income nations.
  • That framework has to be accepted by the global community without dispute.
  • GAVI, or the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, was in existence during the pre-COVID-19 period to ensure the pooled procurement and equitable supply of life-saving vaccines to low-and middle-income countries.
  • India must play a major role in manufacturing and scaling of vaccines.

Conclusion:

In the midst of this global pandemic, we must leverage our global governance bodies to allocate, distribute, and verify the delivery of the Covid 19 vaccine. We need the science — not politics — to inform the global strategy.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Examine the impact of Covid on MSMEs. Suggest ways to revive the MSME sector. (250 words)

Reference:  Deccan Herald

Why the question:

The article explains in what way the covid-19 has impacted the MSMEs.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the impact of Covid on MSMEs. Suggest ways to revive the MSME sector.

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:

Two consecutive COVID-19 pandemic waves have ravaged all the sectors, but it is the micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that have borne the brunt of the coronavirus.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

One can first define what MSMEs are.

Then explain how Covid-19 impacted the MSME sector? – Disproportionate Impact, Reduced operating Capacity, Supply/Demand Fluctuations, Credit Vulnerabilities etc.

Discuss the actions taken by the government to protect MSMEs.

Suggest steps needed for Resilient MSME Sector.

Conclusion:

Conclude that in a way, covid-19 is a watershed moment that may lend itself to accelerated business transition for India’s vast MSME sector. While this is no silver lining, the reality of the situation has forced businesses to look at any means necessary to adapt to grow.

Introduction:

Micro, Small & Medium enterprises (MSME) termed as “engine of growth “for India, has played a prominent role in the development of the country in terms of creating employment opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic has left its impact on all sectors of the economy but nowhere is the hurt as much as the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) of India.

The government, in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has now launched a series of measures to alleviate their distress.

Body:

Impact of COVID on MSME sector:

  • A recently conducted survey finds that production in SMEs has fallen from an average of 75% to 13%.
  • With 110 million employed by Indian SMEs, it is crucial to ensure adequate institutional support, failing which we might see an even larger impact on livelihoods.
  • SMEs also account for a third of India’s GDP, 45% of manufacturing output and 48% of exports and hence are crucial to manufacturing and export competitiveness.
  • With SMEs’ operational challenges exacerbated by Covid-19, it is all the more important to focus on this sector.
  • SMEs will be vital in absorbing a significant proportion of the 600 million entrants to the labour market in EMEs by 2030.
  • With a large proportion of these entrants bound to be from India, it is imperative that the Union and state governments ensure financial and institutional support for SMEs.
  • In terms of location, SMEs are relatively evenly distributed in comparison to larger organisations.
  • Rural areas account for 45%, while the remaining are in urban areas. Hence, SMEs are well-poised to address poverty in both the cities and villages.
  • Although the proportion of urban poverty has declined over the years, it has increased in absolute terms.
  • In 2018, Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai had anywhere between 42-55% of their population living in slums. This number is certain to have increased in the pandemic.

Potential of India’s MSME sector:

  • Contribution to GDP: The share of MSMEs in the country’s gross value added is estimated to be about 32%.
  • Leveraging Exports: It also contributes about 40% to total exports and 45% to manufacturing output.
  • Employment Opportunities: It employs 60 million people, creates 1.3 million jobs every year and produces more than 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets.
  • Diversity: There are approximately 30 million MSME Units in India and is quite diverse in terms of its size, level of technology employed, range of products and services provided and target markets.
  • Fostering Inclusive Growth: MSME is constructing inclusive growth in numerous ways through promoting non- agricultural livelihood at least cost, unbiased regional development, large female participation, and providing a protection against deflation.

The challenges and concerns associated with the growth of MSME sector:

  • Access to Credit:
    • According to Economic Survey (2017-18), MSME sector faces a major problem in terms of getting adequate credit for expansion of business activities.
    • The Survey had pointed out that the MSME received only 17.4 per cent of the total credit outstanding.
    • Most banks are reluctant to lend to MSMEs because from the perspective of bankers, inexperience of these enterprises, poor financials, lack of collaterals and infrastructure.
    • According to a 2018 report by the International Finance Corporation, the formal banking system supplies less than one-third (or about Rs 11 lakh crore) of the credit MSME credit need that it can potentially fund
    • most of the MSME funding comes from informal sources and this fact is crucial because it explains why the Reserve Bank of India’s efforts to push more liquidity towards the MSMEs have had a limited impact.
  • Poor Infrastructure:
    • With poor infrastructure, MSMEs’ production capacity is very low while production cost is very high.
  • Access to modern Technology:
    • The lack of technological know-how and financial constraints limits the access to modern technology and consequently the technological adoption remains low.
  • Access to markets:
    • MSMEs have poor access to markets. Their advertisement and sales promotion are comparatively weaker than that of the multinational companies and other big companies.
    • The ineffective advertisement and poor marketing channels makes it difficult for them to compete with large companies.
  • Legal hurdles:
    • Getting statutory clearances related to power, environment, labour are major hurdles.
    • Laws related to the all aspects of manufacturing and service concern are very complex and compliance with these laws are difficult.
  • Lack of skilled manpower:
    • The training and development programs in respect of MSME`S development has been. Thus, there has been a constant crunch of skilled manpower in MSMEs

Other issues:

  • Low ICT usage.
  • Low market penetration.
  • Quality assurance/certification.
  • IPR related issues.
  • Quality assurance/certification.
  • Standardization of products and proper marketing channels to penetrate new markets.

Measures needed:

  • Government of India and banks should design plans and measures to widen easy, hassle-free access to credit.
  • The RBI should bring stringent norms for Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and it will help curbing loan defaulters and motivate potential good debts. Further, according to critics, the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSME (CGTMSE) run by SIDBI is a growing contingent liability and needs to be examined with urgency
  • Government should provide enhanced development and upgradation of existing rail & road network and other infrastructure facilities in less developed and rural areas to boost growth and development of MSMEs
  • There should proper research and development in respect of innovative method of production and service rendering. Further, the government should promote and subsidise the technical know-how to Micro and small enterprises.
  • Government should encourage procurement programme, credit and performance ratings and extensive marketing support to revive the growth of sick units.
  • Skill development and imparting training to MSME workers is a crucial step to increase the productivity of the sector. The government should emphasise predominantly on skill development and training programs
  • With Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Centre has taken several steps redefining MSMEs, credit access, subordinate debt, preference in government tenders towards ‘energising the MSME sector’.
  • It has also launched the MSME Udyam portal for registration, though this is not mandatory. Information asymmetry on government schemes and incentives on registration must be addressed.
  • MSMEs need to be better integrated into the digital economy to expand their market access, diversify their customer base and solidify their supply chain.
  • Industry and the Indian economy along with MSMEs would reap the benefits of leveraging technology, that will have positive ripple effects on the nation’s GDP and the creation of more jobs.

Model that can learned from other economies:

  • By providing employment and income, SMEs can raise income, living standards and consumer spending.
  • SMEs can aid the Aatmanirbharta vision, especially in the manufacturing sector.
  • This pattern is observed in countries with strong manufacturing sectors such as Germany and China.
  • China’s pattern is more relevant to India due to a similarity in size and population as well as its recency.
  • SMEs make up over 99% of all enterprises in China today, with an output value of at least 60% of its GDP; they generate more than 82% of employment opportunities.
  • As per China’s national economic census, manufacturing SMEs accounted for nearly 53% of its total incorporated SMEs and 65% of the total employment in SMEs.
  • With global manufacturing moving out of China, our SMEs can play a key role in sustaining the manufacturing that is shifted to India.

Conclusion:       

Thus, Indian MSME sector is the backbone of the national economic structure and acts as a bulwark for Indian economy, providing resilience to ward off global economic shocks and adversities. Given the important role played by the sector in the economy, issues faced by it must be addressed on an urgent basis to revive the economy battered by the pandemic. Apart from the fiscal stimulus, the sector requires a political-economy approach that prioritizes MSME interests. India needs to ease the regulatory burden of small units and aid their survival through fiscal support. Above all, they need a level-playing field vis-à-vis big businesses.

 

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

5. The Salwa Judum judgment was delivered 10 years ago, but it has not been effectively implemented by the government. Critically analyse in what way the tribals are still facing many hardships owing to human rights violation by the security forces. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us deeper insights from Chhattisgarh in the context of the Salwa Judum judgment.  

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse in what way the tribals are still facing many hardships owing to human rights violation by the security forces.

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:

The Supreme Court (SC) delivered a historic judgment on 5th July 2011 in Nandini Sundar and others versus the State of Chhattisgarh case.

The judgment was aimed to curb the misuse of power by the government and protect tribal rights.

Explain that the Salwa Judum judgment was delivered 10 years ago, but it has not been effectively implemented by the government. The tribals are still facing many hardships and there has been no prosecution of security forces for human rights violations.

Discuss the details of the judgment and its impact.

Discuss the impact of it on the tribal pockets, give the case study of Chhattisgarh.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions.

Introduction

The Supreme Court (SC) delivered a historic judgment on 5th July 2011 in Nandini Sundar and others versus the State of Chhattisgarh case. The judgment was aimed to curb the misuse of power by the government and protect tribal rights.

Body

About the Judgment:

  • The court banned Salwa Judum- It was a vigilante movement started in 2005 and sponsored by the Chhattisgarh and Central government. The movement ostensibly aimed to fight against the Maoists.
  • The judges also ruled that the use of surrendered Maoists and untrained villagers in frontline counter-insurgency operationsas Special Police Officers (SPOs) was unconstitutional.
  • It directed that the existing SPOs be redeployed in traffic management or other such safe duties.
  • Other matters likeprosecution of security forces for human rights violations, and rehabilitation of villagers who had suffered violence, were left pending. The State had been asked to submit comprehensive plans for this.

Implementation of judgment by the state

  • Ten years on, nothing has been done to implement the judgment.Instead, the State government has merely renamed the SPOs. They are now known as the District Reserve Guard (DRG).
  • Most DRGs are captured or surrendered Maoists and are given automatic weaponry as soon as they join the police force. Some of them get one-three months of training, and some not even that.
  • They commit excesses against their former fellow villagers, suffer the most casualties in any operation. However, they are paid much less than the regular constabulary. Due to this apprehension, judges had outlawed their use.

Pending Issues 

  • Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling remained largely on papers.
  • Today, the Judum camps are virtually empty with only the former SPOs and their families, stayingin now permanent houses.
  • Villagers split between those who went to the camp and those who went to the forest are now reconciled.
  • An entire generation has grown up and across the region, villagers are demanding schools and health centresInstead, what they have got in abundance are CRPF camps.
  • These have come up at intervals of less than 5 km, and roads are being bulldozed through what were once dense forests.
  • The security forces have vacated the schoolsas per SC directive. However, they undertook a larger takeover of public land and private fields.
  • No steps have been taken to prosecute government officials or security forcesfor their atrocities on tribals. For instance, CBI filed a charge sheet in 2011 against security forces for burning tribal villages, but they were not punished.
  • The innocent villagers are still arrestedas suspected Maoists and spend long years in jail before their acquittal. This was even evident during the pandemic times.
  • Deaths in encounters between jawans and Maoists periodically hit the national headlines. But extrajudicial killings of villagers and Maoists and killings of suspected informers by Maoists continue at a steady pace, rarely hitting any high publicity note.
  • No protection is being given to journalists too.

Way Ahead:

T.R. Andhyarujina and Ashok Desai, the lawyers who argued for the villagers pro bono in the Supreme Court, have passed away. Similarly, many other activists have died, are in jail facing contested charges or have given hope of a sustainable solution.

  • Implement the Supreme Court order in letter and spirit.
  • Only those personnel should be selected to fight to Maoist who are willing to join and have bare minimum tactical training.
  • Age, working conditions, salary payment and living conditions should be improved equivalent to what state police officers are getting.
  • More roles should be given to recruit local youth in paramilitary forces with latest technology.
  • Illegal encounters and extra-judicial killings and cases related to them should be undertaken by a separate commission or court.
  • Time bound compensation is required to the innocent victims.
  • Lastly, development work including social and physical infrastructure should be put in place meeting the local needs.

Conclusion

Unless both sides get serious about peace talks, another 10 years will pass. The 2011 Supreme Court judgment will be rendered even more meaningless, as will the idea of justice or the rule of law ever being possible in this land.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

6. One has not only a legal but also a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of moral responsibility with respect to obeying and disobeying laws.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the statement in detail and discuss the importance of moral responsibility in disobeying unjust laws.

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 highlight your understanding of the statement in question.

Body:

Explain that in a democracy, a law not only has the statutory sanction but also reflects the will of the people. Obedience to the law of the land is also a moral obligation for maintaining social and political order in the interest of common good. Socrates when condemned to death did not flee the city. According to him, it would have been violation of law amounting to mistreatment or disrespect of his fellow citizens.

Discuss its importance in the current context.

Give examples such as – Criminalizing Homosexuality, Adultery and sexual harassment etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way ahead.

Introduction

Laws are rules of conduct that government creates and requires people to obey whereas ethics refers to human conduct based on a set of established standards. Law and Ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive for civilized social existence.

Body

Ethical conduct in human society is considered paramount as it is based on critical thinking and reason. Socrates is known as the father of Ethics, who influenced generations of thinkers after him like Plato, Aristotle, etc.

Based on society’s beliefs, laws are created and enforced by governments to mediate in our relationships with each other. Laws must be followed by all, including private citizens, groups and companies as well as public figures, organizations and institutions. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed.

  • While laws carry with them a punishment for violations, ethics does not. In ethics everything depends on the person’s conscience and self-worth. For example, driving carefully and within the speed limit because a person not wanting to hurt someone is ethical, but if one drives slowly because he/she sees a police car behind, this suggests fear of breaking the law and being punished for it.
  • Ethics comes from within a person’s moral sense and desire to preserve his self-respect. It is not as strict as laws. Laws are codifications of certain ethical values meant to help regulate society, and punishments for breaking them can be harsh and sometimes even break ethical standards.
    • For example, take the case of the death penalty. Everyone knows that killing someone is wrong, yet the law punishes people who break the law with death.
  • Furthermore, laws play role as a punitive tool towards ensuring ethical conduct in humans in a civilised society. Child labour acts in statute books around the world are a case in point where ethical behaviour of not employing child labours is ensured through legislations for the same.

At the same time, it is important to remember that following law doesn’t always ensure ethical conduct for humans.

  • An illegal act may be deemed more ethical than when following law to the book. For example, the act of whistleblowing to bring out information important for the society can be seen as illegal but many consider it an ethical conduct. The case of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange clearly demonstrates this phenomenon.
  • Rigid implementation of laws also cannot serve the purpose of ethical conduct as is evident from the recent Supreme Court judgement with respect to Forest Rights Act for tribals in India. Here, many tribals have been ordered to vacate their traditional dwelling places owing to SC’s interpretation of archaic laws.
  • The words of Mahatma Gandhi were from his struggle in South Africa against the unjust racial laws. Laws protect the rights of people and regulate the civil activities. In most of the cases, laws are on the lines of ethical principles. But, there are also several laws which are clearly unethical. For example, laws made by Nazi state in Germany or laws sanctioning racial discrimination in USA or South Africa were legitimate and legal but unethical.
  • According to Martin Luther King one has moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. Also Mahatma Gandhi was of the opinion that an unjust law in itself is a species of violence. In the broader scheme of ethical governance, laws may not be the solution to all problems since what is legally permissible may not be morally defendable.
  • For example, consider the case of capital punishment. While a State can enact a law to take away the basic right to life legally, it does not fall on strong moral grounds. Similarly, laws like AFSPA deprive citizens of basic civil liberties.

Other examples of surrogate advertising, paid news, etc. may be legally admissible but unethical. Also, enacting and enforcing laws requires idealism and can also be used for ethical deliberation avoidance. Especially in the scheme of administrative ethics, laws restrict civil service to quantitative dimension of procedural compliance; oblivious to the moral issues involved. So, while laws are essential in guiding mechanisms of governance, they cannot be absolute due to the scope of errors.

Conclusion

Hence, ethical sensibility is above laws in governance and elements of moral conscience are required to assess actions.

 

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. Can a war ever be justified on moral grounds? Support your answer with suitable arguments. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications m

Why the question:

Discuss if war can ever be justified on moral grounds.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to explain if a war ever be justified on moral grounds? Support your answer with suitable arguments.

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 the context of the question.

Body:

Introduce by mentioning the concept of modern day war/warfare and the costs of war.

War is an armed conflict between two or more states or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias, characterized by intense violence and loss of life and property. Several moral philosophers have tried to evaluate the morality of war and test it on the parameters of justness.

Present the arguments given to justify a war on moral grounds and highlight the aspects of a just war.

A just war may be permissible because it’s a lesser evil, but it’s still an evil. It must be assessed not only on the basis of its justifiability but also is costs – human, physical and economic. A war, even if just, has to be a measure of last resort. A war – irrespective of reasoning or manner of conduct – must be waged only after exhausting all other alternatives of dispute settlement.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a contrasting view that violence in any form can never be justified on the moral grounds.

Introduction:

The Ethics of War starts by assuming that war is a bad thing, and should be avoided if possible, but it recognises that there can be situations when war may be the lesser evil of several bad choices. The purpose of war ethics is to help decide what is right or wrong, both for individuals and countries, and to contribute to debates on public policy, and ultimately to government and individual action.

Body:

War ethics also leads to the creation of formal codes of war (e.g. The Hague and Geneva conventions), the drafting and implementation of rules of engagement for soldiers, and in the punishment of soldiers and others for war crimes.

However, many would argue that there are times when war is morally permissible, and even obligatory. The most famous way of ethically assessing war is to use ‘Just War Theory’; a tradition going back to St. Augustine in the 5th Century and St. Thomas in the 13th Century. Just War theory considers the reasons for going to war (Jus ad bellum) and the conduct of war (Jus in bello). This distinction is important. A war might be ethical but the means unethical, for instance, using landmines, torture, chemicals and current debate is concerned with drones.

Just War theory sets out principles for a war to be ethical. The war must be:

  • Waged by a legitimate authority (usually interpreted as states)
  • In a just cause
  • Waged with right intention
  • Have a strong probability of success
  • Be a last resort
  • Be proportional

Everything is fair in love and war:

The ends justify the means when it comes to love and war. When you are fighting a war it is important to do what you have to in order to win the war. You can’t expect someone to play fair in war when their survival is on the line. When going for love it is also important to do as much as you can for the people that you love.

However, not everything is fair. We live in a world with rules, and many of those rules are there for a reason. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by passion only without logic and rationality, the world would be in chaos. Yes, it’s important to stick to what you believe in, be it to fight for your loved one or your country, but logic and reason are just as fundamental and necessary as passion and strong beliefs. Countries that drop bombs on innocent people and militia who kill innocent people on the basis of religion, spurned lovers who attacking or physically abuse girls is morally and legally never right.

Conclusion:       

The character of war is changing fast and the ethics needs to keep pace with that change. These particular principles might well need revision. But we should not imagine the fundamental ethical issues have changed. It is still the case that in a sense war is inherently unethical. To be justified, significant ethical reasons are required and although imperfect Just War theory continues to be one way to seek such reasons.


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