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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 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 – 1


 

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

1. Elaborate the significance of social media in the lives of women. What are the challenges faced by women on social media? (250 words)

Reference:  orfonline.org

Why the question:

The article explains in what way although social media has had a transformative impact on women with political, financial, and social empowerment, yet women battle lack of access, language barriers, and safety concerns on these platforms.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of social media in the lives of women. explain the challenges faced by women on social media.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what social media is and its reach.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Firstly, explain why social media matters to women; give both positives and negatives.

Discuss the reasons preventing women’s full participation in social media.

Highlight the policies and mechanisms that are present to protect women against the concerns and challenges that social media poses.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the issue.

Introduction

Today ‘s era is the era of social media whose presence and active involvement has swiftly and widely spread the ideologies for women empowerment. Social media  has become the agent of  social change which helped and supported women‘s empowerment in various aspects such as mobilizing attention of glocal community towards women‘s rights and challenges discrimination and stereotypes across the globe. Social  media  has given  platform  to  discuss  issues  and challenges  of  women  through  blogs,  chats,  online  campaign, online  discussion  forums,  and  online  communities which  is  mostly  not  disseminated  or  propagated  by  mainstream  media.

Body

significance of social media in the lives of women

  • Social media is easily accessible and it’s also the meeting point of today’s internet savvy audience.
  • Women’s rights
    • A concrete relationship definitely exists between social media and women’s rights
    • Social media has opened doors  and made  everything available  for  everybody everywhere,  thus  eliminating gates and gatekeeping of  any sort.
    • Intrinsically, women’s rights  violations  and women’s rights movements  have  been  quickly  capitalized  on  social  media’s  unparalleled  awareness-raising potential.
    • social media has become a tool for women to campaign against issues like gender stereotyping, gender suppression etc.
  • Curbing violence against women
    • Internet and social media can enable activists and others to challenge myths and stereotypes as well as create new forums for the perpetuation of violence against women.
    • Hashtag movements  to  end  violence  and discrimination   against
    • Social media   is   a   strong platform   to   discuss   and   share   views,   experiences   to channelize  hashtag  movements  to  stop  sexual  violence  and discrimination  against
    • It is  a  new  frontier  to  organise campaign or rally by women‘s rights activists to come forward and  fight  for  gender
    • Through  social  media,  women across  the  globe  are  connected  and  supporting  each  other such  as  lawmakers,  politicians,  business  owners  for  gender equality.
    • Twitter’s hashtag function in particular allows women to easily follow issues that matter to them and forge coalitions based upon shared concerns, from immediate personal needs to calls for large-scale social change. E.g: #MeToo movement, #SelfieWithDaughter etc.
  • Women Entrepreneurs
    • Social media  is  becoming  one  of  the  most  powerful  tools where women can start new companies, venture or start-up as they can contact and converse with customers and consumers directly.
    • Female entrepreneurs   can   do   marketing   through social  media  which  is  very  cost  effective  and  can  be  easily channelized.
    • Social media with the help of new technology pave the ground for millions of people to find online jobs for themselves or create businesses for others globally.
    • For instance, Shradha Sharma is   the   Founder   and   Chief   Editor   at Yourstory.com,   which   is   an   online media  platform  for  start-ups  and    It  is  India‘s leading  online  media  technology  which  has  narrated  more than  20,000  stories  in  12  Indian  languages  of  entrepreneurs which  reaches  to  more  than  10  million  readers  very  month.
  • Making the voices heard
    • In digital platforms, the cost of participating for a cause or in a protest is cheaper. This encourages more people to participate and force governments to pay heed.
    • While women still remain underrepresented, social media provides a level playing field by allowing individual voices from a wider range of backgrounds to be heard, with or without the traditional power.
    • It fills up the lacunae presented by the traditional media, where women receive only 38% of bylines.
  • Global Communities
    • Female-based communities are evolving in a way that cuts through particular companies and physical limitations and connects female players throughout industries and geographies.
    • Because the internet bypasses so many barriers that separate us, women who were formerly isolated can now access high-profile players in their field and, conversely, build an accessible, highly visible platform for self-promotion.
    • Women have historically had a more difficult time capitalizing concepts and proposals, but the interplay of social media and crowdfunding is turning that paradigm on its head.
    • For instance, In July of 2020, women took to instagram to post black-and-white pictures of themselves with the caption “#challengeaccepted”. Women who participated in the challenge would nominate another woman and tag them in the post of their selfie, challenging them to post a black-and-white picture of themselves and nominate someone else.
  • Breaking barriers
    • Social media breaks cultural barriers, legal restrictions, economic barriers and more, enabling the better representation of women from across the globe, even from countries following misogynistic systems.
    • It has played a critical role during the pandemic in enabling the continuation of activism even amid the lockdown and social distancing.

Challenges faced by women on social media

  • Women are the most vulnerable to cyber abuse like online harassment.
  • Increased attention of women in social media often makes them the target of repressive activities. This results in gendered barriers for women online as in public places.
  • Online offences are often normalised due to the difficulty in tracing offenders and the complexity and inaccessibility of the justice delivery mechanisms
  • This creates mistrust of the public towards the justice system, leading to the further marginalisation of women.
  • In this backdrop, social media has become a tool for the rapists to threaten their victims to not report the crime.
  • Such platforms are used by harassers to silence women who strive to break the misogynistic social norms.
  • A study revealed that a third of the surveyed women stopped opinionating online due to the fear of abusers.
  • Online trolling is now going beyond the digital realm, leading to cases like suicides.
  • An international survey found that 20% of women being harassed offline believe that those attacks were connected to online abuse they receive.
  • Some are even vulnerable to stalkers because of their online presence. This is especially prevalent in regions where law enforcement is weak, patriarchy is strong and online trolling is commonplace.
  • Fake profiles are often created for sullying victims’ reputation.
  • In recent years, the internet has become a tool to discriminate against women, with a high prevalence of hate campaigns across the world. E.g. Revenge porn.
  • With the worldwide restrictions due to the pandemic pushing more people online, cases of online gender abuse have escalated.

Measures needed:

  • Government level:
    • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal shall be designated as the national portal under-reporting requirements in the POCSO Act in case of electronic material
    • Union Government shall be empowered through its designated authority to block and/or prohibit all websites/intermediaries that carry child sexual abuse material
    • Law enforcement agencies should be permitted to brake end to end encryption to trace distributors of child pornography.
    • A cyber crime portal was launched in 2018 to enable citizens to report obscene contents.
    • Cyber police stations and cyber crime cells were set up in each state for reporting and investigating cybercrime cases.
  • Use of Artificial intelligence:
    • Tools can be developed which can analyse the behaviour of every internet user. So it can help prevent the user from falling into cyber bullying.
    • Developing some mobile applications that can alert parents if the child is under threat of cyber bullying.
    • Prevent malware attacks by tying up with antivirus agencies.
  • Multipronged approach to handle cases:
    • Need to handle the cases of cyber bullying through multipronged approach such as counselling through Psychiatrist, approaching police, etc.

Way forward:

  • Social media platforms have moral obligations to safeguard their users.
  • They must strive towards ensuring transparent and efficient reporting systems so that people can use them to curb cyberbullying.
  • Making social media platforms accountable
  • Countermeasures against online trolling must be encompassed within the women empowerment policies
  • Online women-specific crime reporting unit must be set up for quicker disposal for complaints regarding targeted harassment of women users of social media.
  • Increasing political representation of women for removing societal inequality, discrimination and misogyny
  • The cybercrimes in social media platforms are mainly addressed under the IPC provisions that deal with conventional offences like sexual harassment, privacy violation etc.
  • They are largely inefficient in dealing with techno-motivated crimes, which have more impact on victims than those traditional offences due to the lack of justice.
  • Therefore, the cyber crimes under the IT Act must be repealed and IPC must be modified to cover all cybercrimes, including those currently covered under the IT Act.

Conclusion:

As part of a knowledge society in the new media era, social media considerably contribute to women empowerment by offering information and education that presents women users with strategies offering better informed  decision making from anywhere and  everywhere which may not be possible otherwise.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

2. What are the main criticisms of the World Bank and the IMF? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  brettonwoodsproject.org

Why the question:

The question is based on the topic of international institutions namely the World Bank and the IMF.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the main criticisms of World Bank and the IMF.

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 the institutions are about.

Body:

The IMF and World Bank continue to be amongst the most relevant and significant powerful norm-setters, conveners, knowledge-holders and influencers of the international development and financial landscape.

Discuss the Historical context of IMF and World Bank critiques.

Give reasons such as – Structural under-representation of the Global South, Undermining democratic ownership, Biased and inconsistent decision-making, weak ability to learn from past mistakes etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done.

Introduction

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was set up along with the World Bank after the Second World War to assist in the reconstruction of war-ravaged countries. Leaders felt that financial stability was best achieved when countries worked in an environment of interdependence. The two organisations were agreed to be set up at a conference in Bretton Woods in the US. Hence, they are known as the Bretton Woods twins

The IMF and World Bank continue to be amongst the most relevant and significant powerful norm- setters, convenors, knowledge holders and influencers of the international development and financial landscape.

Body

Similarities between the WB and IMF

  • Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were formed together at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in July 1944. They are called Bretton woods twins.
  • Both were created to support the world economy in their own unique ways.
  • Both are headquartered in Washington D.C, the U.S.A.
  • They have the same membership as no admission to the World Bank is possible without the IMF membership.
  • The management structure of the World Bank is largely similar to that of the IMF. Voting rights in these institutions depend primarily on capital contribution of the member countries.

Differences between the WB and the IMF

Despite similarities, however, the Bank and the IMF remain distinct. Following differences exist between them:

  • The World Bank is primarily a development institution but the IMF is a cooperative institution that seeks to maintain an orderly system of payments and receipts between nations.
  • The IMF exists to preserve an orderly monetary system whereas the World Bank performs an economic development role.
  • Both have different purposes. The IMF supervises the economic policies of its members and expects them to allow free exchange of national currencies. To keep this financial order, the IMF also acts as a provider of emergency loans to members who run into difficulties, in exchange for a promise from the member to reform its economic policies.
  • The World Bank finances economic development among poorer nations by funding specific and targeted projects, aimed at helping to raise productivity. The IBRD lends to developing nations at preferential interest rates, while the IDA only lends to the poorest nations, on an interest-free basis.
  • They have different funding sources. The IMF raises its money through membership fees, known as quotas. Each member country pays a quota based on its relative economic size so that the larger economies pay more. The World Bank raises most of its money through borrowing by issuing bonds to investors. It also receives grants from donors.
  • The IMF exists primarily to stabilize exchange rates, while the World Bank’s primary goal is to reduce poverty.

Criticism of the WB and the IMF

  • The International Monetary Fund promotes monetary cooperation internationally and offers advice and assistance to facilitate building and maintaining a country’s economy. The IMF also provides loans and helps countries develop policy programs that solve balance of payment problems. However, the loans offered by the IMF are loaded with conditions.
  • The World Bank and the IMF often attach loan conditionalities based on what is termed the ‘Washington Consensus’, focusing on liberalisation—of trade, investment and the financial sector—, deregulation and privatisation of nationalised industries. Often the conditionalities are attached without due regard for the borrower countries’ individual circumstances.
  • Additionally, the prescriptive recommendations by the World Bank and IMF fail to resolve the economic problems within the countries.
  • Both the WB and the IMF have been accused of coercing poor countries to undertake structural adjustment programmes under the aegis of economic globalization. Sometimes, this has led to under-development of these economies bringing severe domestic crisis in multiple dimensions. This contributes to a yawning economic gap between different countries across the globe.
  • The World Bank’s role in the global climate change finance architecture has also caused much controversy. Civil society groups see the Bank as unfit for a role in climate finance because of the conditionalities and advisory services usually attached to its loans.
  • The WB has been accused of financing unsustainable carbon-intensive developmental projects. Hence, there is an increasing call from environmental activists that the WB and IMF should finance only carbon-neutral sustainable development projects.
  • There are also concerns related with the accountability of the projects run by them especially in the Third World countries.
  • The WB and the IMF have also been criticised for being western-dominated undemocratic bodies. Decisions are made and policies implemented by leading industrialised countries because they represent the largest donors without much consultation with poor and developing countries.
  • The IMF has quota system which is yet to give adequate weightage to the emerging economies like India, China and Brazil despite their increased economic importance in contemporary times. The global economic centre of gravity has shifted from the “global North” to the “global south”. But these Brettonwoods institutions are yet to realise that even though there has been the formation the BRICS bank and the AIIB.
  • There are also ethical issues related to the funding of types of projects by the World Bank. For example, the funding of hydroelectric dams in some countries by the WB has resulted in massive displacement of the indigenous peoples.
  • The WB’s propensity to privilege the private sector and market forces has brought about justifiable concerns regarding the sovereign decision-making capabilities of states getting tied funds from the World Bank.
  • The Bank’s private sector lending arm – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – has also been criticised for its business model, the increasing use of financial intermediaries such as private equity funds and funding of companies associated with tax havens.
  • Critics of the World Bank and the IMF are also apprehensive about the role of the Bretton Woods institutions in shaping the development discourse through their research, training and publishing activities. Their views and prescriptions may undermine or eliminate alternative perspectives on development.

Conclusion

Many of the criticisms aimed against the WB and IMF are historical and may not hold true in contemporary times. The two institutions are trying to reorient themselves as per the changed geo-economic realities and changing developmental requirements. The internal assessment has also been catalysed by the geopolitical and geo-economic impact of the BRICS bank and the AIIB as a challenge to the Bretton Woods institutions. Hence, the national governments should undertake a calibrated economic liberalization maintaining the due autonomy of their decision-making to have a win-win situation in tune with the sustainable development ethics.

 

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

3. In 2026, there will be the challenge of addressing the conflict between the democratic principles and the federal principles, when there will be a reallocation of Lok Sabha seats. India needs to reimagine the current federal compact to address the challenges to federalism. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the upcoming crisis in the Indian federalism.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the afore mentioned challenge that Indian federalism is about to witness.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief context of the question.

Body:

In 2026, there will be the challenge of addressing the conflict between the democratic principles and the federal principles, when there will be a reallocation of Lok Sabha seats. India needs to reimagine the current federal compact to address the challenges to federalism.

Talk about the Population freeze for Lok Sabha seats.

Discuss the challenge of balancing the principle of democracy and federalism

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward on addressing the challenges to federalism.

Introduction

Since 1976, seats in the Lok Sabha have reflected the 1971 census and have not taken into account changes in the population. The primary reason for this has been unequal population growth among States.

Body

Reason behind emergence of crisis:

  • Post 2026, there will be a seismic shift in national power towards India’s poorest and most populated States.
  • This would generate much resentment among the States that will lose political and economic power and influence.
  • This calls for a realignment in the balance between the democratic principle and the federal principle in the Indian Constitution.

Tussle between democratic principle and the federal principle:

  • An inherent contradiction between the principles of democracy and federalism arises when federal units are unequal, population and economics.
  • In a democratic setup, all citizens are equal and are thus entitled to equal representation in governance. But this would imply that bigger States are likely to dominate the national conversation over smaller States.
  • Small States fear that they would get a smaller share of the pie economically, a much reduced say in national issues, and be irrelevant in the political governance of the country.
  • Thus, federal democracies have incorporated into their governing structures various kinds of compromises to ensure a balance between democratic principles and federal ones.

How the US Constitution addresses the concerns of small states?

  • When the Americans adopted their Constitution, they protected smaller States in four ways.
  • National powers over the States were limited.
  • Each State regardless of size hadtwo seats in the Senate, giving smaller States an outsized role in national governance.
  • Presidents are elected by electoral votes,which means they must win States rather than the total national population.
  • The slave-owning states were allowed to count the slaves for purposes of representation, with each slave being counted as three-fifths of a person.
  • This essential structure remains the bedrock of the American Constitution today.

What can India do to alleviate the fear of less populous states?

  • Empowering States: The powers of States vis-à-vis the Centre contained in the Lists and in the provisions dealing with altering boundaries of States must be increased. This will alleviate the fear of smaller States of being dominated by bigger ones.
  • Expansion of Council of States: The role and composition of the Rajya Sabha must be expanded. This would allow smaller States a kind of brake over national majoritarian politics that adversely impact them.
  • Constitutional Safeguards: Constitutional change and the change in financial redistribution between the States must require the consent of all or nearly all States. The fate of the Goods and Services Tax, or GST, serves as a salutary warning in this regard.
  • Reorganizing States: Serious thought must be given to breaking up the biggest States into smaller units. This would prevent them from dominating the national conversation.

Way Ahead

  • National bonds of affection and patriotism will not be severed by devolution of powers though they will be at least severely strained when one part of the country is empowered over another.
  • There is an urgent need to reimagine our national compact— another freeze will only kick this thorny issue down the road and will continue to perpetuate an increasingly undemocratic set up.

Conclusion

The unity of India is, of course, the fundamental premise underlying this discussion; but this unity does not depend on an overbearing Centre for its survival.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. The recent Covid crisis has exposed India’s vulnerability to the dependence on global electronics supply chains. By analyzing the reasons, discuss the measures taken by the government for making self-sufficient electronic industry in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question aims to analyse the impact of covid-19 on India’s vulnerability to the dependence on global electronics supply chains.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the underlying reasons that have caused such vulnerability and discuss the measures taken by the government for making self-sufficient electronic industry in India.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key facts justifying the statement in question.

Body:

Highlight first why there is dependence on other countries when it comes to electronic goods.

Discuss the factors that have led to such vulnerability.

Discuss the measures taken by the government for making self-sufficient electronic industry in India.

Talk about Atmanirbhar Bharat and its relevance and other associated schemes in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The Indian economy has been on a roller coaster ride by the Covid waves impact which is certainly not helping. The electronics industry is no exception and has faced the turbulence in equal measure. The recent Covid crisis has exposed India’s vulnerability to the dependence on global electronics supply chains.

Body

Electronic Industry in India:

  • India has set an ambitious share of $ 400 billion for the ESDM (Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing) sector.
  • The growing applications and scope of electronics technology which is expanding its potential markets is a silver lining for India.
  • Work from Home, wireless technologies, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, massive growth in Data Storage, medical electronics, all are adding to the opportunities for electronics sector.
  • Electronics permeates all sectors of the economy, from mobile phones to ISRO’s satellites making it not only important economically but also of great strategic significance.
  • Of the $ 2.2 trillion plus global ESDM industry, India has a small share of less than 3.5 per cent.
  • Indian Electronics Manufacturing Service (EMS) Industry is expected to grow 6.5x from $23.5 bn to reach $152 bn by 2025
  • India’s electronic sector has grown at a growth rate of 14% between 2016 and 2019.
  • The market size has increased from the US $ 145 billion to the US $ 215 billion from 2016 to 2019.
  • However, electronic mobile phones have contributed more to this growth.

Reasons for dependence on global supply chains:

  • Lack of strong eco-system of electronic components manufacturing and preferably the raw materials that are required for the same in India.
  • As per a study by ELCINA, the demand for components was $ 32 billion for a $ 70 billion industry in the year 2019. Of this, barely $ 10 billion was manufactured locally, and that too majorly with imported raw materials.
  • In case of active components, largely comprised of semiconductors and for PCBs, domestic share is below 12 per cent. This remains the steepest challenge for the electronics sector in achieving its strategic and economic goals set to reach the domestic manufacturing target of $ 400 billion.
  • The Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector faces three key cost disadvantages which include high finance cost, quality and cost issues with respect to power supply and finally, the high cost of logistics (including procedural delays).
  • These ‘disabilities’ faced by manufacturers are in direct proportion to value addition.
  • Higher the value addition, higher is the disability cost suffered by the manufacturer impacting competitiveness in the global market.
  • These disabilities get compounded with duty exemptions which expose the fragile component industry to the onslaught of zero duty imports from the much stronger Asian competitors.
  • Competitive disadvantage for domestic manufacturers has choked fresh investments in value added manufacturing, keeping them severely dependent on imports.
  • While customs duties for over 217 tariff lines of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) products and their inputs (read components) have been brought down to zero under Information Technology Agreement (ITA) of WTO from 2005 onwards, and these disability costs are yet to be mitigated fully causing a competitive disadvantage.
  • This dependence is particularly marked in high investment segments such as Multilayer PCBs, Passive Chip Components, Semiconductors and several products built on semiconductor technology such as Sensors, Memory Modules, Power Management Modules and Displays.
  • The example of Display screens provides an apt case where India’s dependence on imports is causing a serious roadblock in our aspirations to achieve “atmanirbhar bharat” in electronics manufacturing.
  • A recent report by Feedback Consulting prepared for ICEA reveals that the volumes for display units would grow from 250 million currently to over 900 million in 2025 and their value would soar from $ 5.4 billion to almost $ 19 billion.
  • major share of Displays and most other electronics is sourced from China, and our stress points with our neighbour are well known. If China decides to switch off the tap, or even restrict supplies, we would face severe challenges in sustaining our supply chains.

Government initiatives for the Electronic sector

  • The Government of India unveiled three schemes in April 2020 with an outlay of about Rs. 48,000 crore to promote electronics manufacturing in India. These schemes are:
    • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.
    • Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS).
    • Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
  • To support the ESDM sector and its development trajectory, the Government of India has made electronics production an important pillar of important initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, and Start-up India.
  • Government of India has allowed 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under the automatic route in the ESDM sector. In the case of electronics goods for defense, up to 49%, FDI is permitted under the automatic route. And more than 49% of FDI requires government approval.
  • In line with the ‘Skill India’ campaign, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) launched an initiative for capacity building in ESDM.
  • The Tamil Nadu government unveiled the Electronics and Hardware Manufacturing Policy, which targets the US $ 100 billion in production by 2025 and 25% of India’s total electronic exports by 2025.
  • In 2019, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to the National Policy on Electronics 2019 which envisions positioning India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing.

Way forward:

  • India is one of the upcoming hubs for microchip designing with hundreds of start-ups making substantial progress in this field.
  • Even some IITs have developed indigenous microchip designs like Shakti and Ajit.
  • Electronics manufacturing needs a policy push to attract more FDI in Electronics
  • Increase the country’s general competitiveness in the export market
  • Bring the duties on components down to the level of the product.
  • In order to inspire investor confidence, laws need to be liberal and predictable.
  • Establish special economic zones like the Dubai International Financial Centre—Dubai’s normal civil and commercial laws do not apply in this area
  • Reforming labour and land would make India an attractive destination in the global supply chain.
  • Anomalies which discourage domestic manufacture on account of an inverted duty structure need to be rectified.
  • Providing tax benefits that incentivise investment in domestic manufacturing facilities.
  • Create a hundred design studios for new product development.
  • There is a need to promote semiconductor manufacturing alongside assembly units in India
  • The schemes to promote electronics manufacturing combined with the Prime Minister’s call for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, have rejuvenated hopes of a rise of the indigenous electronics industry, allowing India to be truly self-sufficient.
  • It is only through such actions, India can hope to realise the dream of being a truly indigenous electronic ecosystem encompassing all aspects of the electronics industry.

 

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

5. There is a view that India is naturally a circular economy. In this context examine the opportunities and challenges in realizing the potential of India’s Circular Economy. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The question is based on the premise of India and the options of becoming a circular economy.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the opportunities and challenges in realizing the potential of India’s Circular Economy.

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:

Start with what you understand by a circular economy.

Body:

Explain how India has the opportunity to save money, make money and do well by adopting the principles of the circular economy. It has the opportunity to leapfrog other economies and establish a leadership position.

Traditionally, the Indian economy has been one where reusing, re-purposing and recycling have been second nature. In a world that is increasingly running out of natural resources, this thinking is an asset that must be leveraged by businesses, policymakers and citizens in an organized manner and expanded to include other elements to make the economy truly circular.

Highlight the challenges before it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The WEF defines “a circular economy as an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models”.

Body

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

This is a departure from the traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a take-make-consume-throw away pattern. It relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy.

Principles of circular economy

The following ‘5R’ principles lies at the heart of achieving circularity in any product, process or service:

  • Reduce: The emphasis is on achieving resource efficiency by prioritizing use of regenerative and restorative resources.
  • Reuse:This encompasses two aspects – first is to reuse the useful parts / components of a product, wherever possible and second is to promote greater use of product-as-a-service through sharing platforms.
  • Recycle: Focus is on creating a closed loop system to utilize discarded material as a source of secondary resource, through extensive recycling.
  • Re-manufacture:To create new products by utilizing waste streams through cooperation and collaboration between multi-sector industry actors.
  • Repair/refurbish: The aim is to preserve and extend the life of a product that is already made by designing for the future

Need for circular economy in India

  • Rise in consumerism: The robust economic growth coupled with rising household incomes have resulted in increased consumer spending, which is expected to reach USD 4 trillion by 2025. The rise in consumerism has led to more frequent replacement of assets on account of increased spending power and economies of scale.
  • High resource demand:Increased domestic resource extraction due to urbanisation exerts increasing pressure on natural resources such as land, forest, air and water. At the current rate of growth of the economy, India’s resource requirements are projected to be nearly 15 billion tonnes by 2030. Therefore, an urgent need for decoupling economic growth from resources, which can be achieved through a circular economy approach.
  • Import dependence:India’s dependence on the international market for accessing critical resources like rare earth minerals etc. due to shrinking reserves, technical constraints etc.
  • Waste creation:The traditional linear economy approach results in massive waste generation at all stages of a product life cycle right from resource extraction, processing, value addition, consumption to end of life stage.

Challenges:

  • Achievability
    • One challenge faced by the circular economy framework is related to the achievability of the concept.
    • At the core of the framework, is the idea of designing out waste.
    • If in certain sectors, such as manufactured goods, the vision can be globally implemented and materials be used longer, reused, before being dismantled and remanufactured, in other sectors however, existing limits might make it difficult to close the loop indefinitely: paper recycling is for instance limited to a certain number of cycles.
    • Specific hazardous waste, such as mercury or asbestos might also reach a dead end as they cannot be recycled but must be contained off the cycle.
  • Desirability
    • Beyond the question of achievability is the notion of desirability for businesses.
    • In the current situation, trying to reach a 100% recyclability rate might prove counterproductive, if for instance, the price of recovery remains higher than the value of the materials recovered.
    • Lack of incentives in the existing regulatory landscape does not necessarily make it desirable for all to pursue a circular economy objective.
  • Social sustainability
    • Strongly rooted in environmental sustainability, the circular economy framework lacks an elaborated description of the social dimension of sustainability (e.g. the fulfilment of human needs, territorial implications).
    • Its principles are primarily formulated from a business point of view that strive equally for environmental and economic benefits.
    • Social benefits are often lacking.
    • people’s basic needs at a global level may still be further undermined by abuses of power, unhealthy or unfair labour and living conditions or a disrespect of human rights.
    • As such, the circular economy framework does not necessarily fulfil all the dimensions of sustainability.
  • Lack of strategic guidelines and standardisation
    • Currently, the circular economy framework does not provide specific criteria to support the selection of actions nor specific guidelines on how to implement the concept.
    • As the implementation of circular economy varies significantly for different products and markets, the need for individualized or sectoral approaches makes it difficult to provide general guidelines.
    • Moreover, engaging in a circular economy strategy may bring in difficult trade-offs.

Way forward

  • Need for Legislation to promote the circular economy in the country. Several countries have recognised the centrality of the circularity as the new paradigm for sustainable development.
  • Policies like Zero Effect, Zero Defectin manufacturing stage, National Electricity Mobility Mission Plan in consumption stage, and the various Waste Management Rules in disposal stage, if tweaked properly, can be the ideal for integrating circular economy into the fabric of the Indian economy.
  • Ensuring the transition to circular economy call for extensive collaborative efforts between key stakeholders, including regulators, policy makers, corporates, and financial institutions would need to work to adopt circular business models.
  • Adequate financing needed for realization of these newer opportunities through innovative financing instruments, such as green bonds, municipal bonds, SDG-aligned bonds.

Conclusion

India has immense resources — people, capital, supply chains and scale — to find value in waste. A billion-dollar-valued circular economy unicorn can indeed emerge if technology, finance, policy and behavioural change could create markets where none existed.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. Tolerance is not enough, it is the idea of acceptance that accommodates diversities and makes a society inclusive. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the subjects of Tolerance and idea of acceptance and their importance.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to elaborate on how tolerance alone is not sufficient to make the society inclusive but it is the idea of acceptance which is of importance.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by tolerance and the idea of acceptance.

Body:

In the beginning bring out the difference between tolerance and acceptance.

While tolerance and acceptance are often used interchangeably, there are qualitative differences between the two. Tolerance is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own. However, acceptance not only recognizes differences but also empathizes with those differences. It is knowing, understanding, and being at peace with the way things are and with the way reality is.

Discuss how acceptance has a broader meaning than tolerance.

Also, discuss how it makes a society inclusive. Give examples of any govt. policy that is premised on this context.

Conclusion:

Conclude suitably.

Introduction

According to Neufeldt, Tolerance is recognizing and respecting other’s beliefs and practices without sharing in them. It can also be described as “a respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expressions (speech, religion etc.) and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference”

Body:

If we consider tolerance as the midpoint on a spectrum ranging between prohibition at one end to acceptance at the other:

Prohibition———————-Tolerance———————-Acceptance

Tolerance is your ability or willingness to endure the existence of opinions or behaviour you dislike or disagree with. Acceptance, on the other hand, is assenting and embracing someone or something you don’t like, without protesting and without trying to change them. Often, the words “acceptance” and “tolerance” are used interchangeably. For instance, the LGBT community often talks of building a tolerant society, but it is by no means enough. Tolerance and acceptance are two qualities needed for a diverse society.

The idea of acceptance accommodates diversities and makes a society inclusive

  • Individual level
    • Tolerance teaches one to be respect others and not impose our will on others.
    • It helps us to broaden our perspective and thinking.
    • While acceptance makes the individual to embrace it without any hesitation.
    • g.: Ira Singhal was the first IAS officer to hire two transgender employees in her department, thus encouraging an inclusive behaviour of everyone around her.
  • Societal level
    • Tolerance is vital because it promotes the receiving or acknowledging of new ideas and this helps to break the status quo mentality.
    • Acceptance is particularly needed in large and complex societies comprising people with varied beliefs, as in India.
    • This is because readiness to tolerate views other than one’s own facilitates harmonious coexistence.
    • g.: Tolerance towards various linguistic groups and its acceptance in law and in spirit has cemented India’s unity whereas its absence led to division of Pakistan and civil war in Sri Lanka.
  • Government level
    • Helps increase its legitimacy and inspire confidence even among the dissidents.
    • g.: The accommodative policies of Patel and Nehru has helped shape India into a political union that it is today.
    • Toleration promotes the free exchange of ideas, including criticism and debate of public policy in the interest of the people.
    • While acceptance helps in implementing the same through various policies and programmes.

Conclusion:

The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Being tolerant of each other and caring for each other is what makes us human.  By teaching tolerance, we allow individuality and diversity while promoting peace and a civil society.  Our success in the struggle of intolerance depends on the effort we make to educate ourselves and our children.

 

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.

7. Companies adhering to the norms of corporate governance emerge as winners in the long run. Evaluate with the help of suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV, theme corporate Governance.

Key Demand of the question:

With the help of examples one must illustrate the importance of adhering to corporate governance for companies and how it aids them in long run.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of corporate governance.

Body:

Discuss why companies need corporate governance? – The purpose of corporate governance is to facilitate effective, entrepreneurial and prudent management that can deliver the long-term success of the company.

Give reasons with examples why such companies emerge as winners in the long run.

Justify with examples how companies ignoring corporate governance do not sustain in the long run.

Conclusion:

Conclude appropriately based on the above points.

Introduction

Corporate governance concerns an organization’s system of management and control. Specifically, it covers the proper management including the relationships between: board members; the board and the company’s shareholders; and the company and other stakeholders such as employees, creditors and customers; and internal controls and processes. A good corporate governance framework will lead to internal discipline, accountability and transparency.

Ethics is at the core of corporate governance, and management must reflect accountability for their actions on the global community scale.

Body:

Importance of Corporate Governance:

  • Ensures that the management of a company considers the best interests of everyone;
  • Helps companies deliver long-term corporate success and economic growth;
  • Maintains the confidence of investors and as consequence companies raise capital efficiently and effectively;
  • Has a positive impact on the price of shares as it improves the trust in the market;
  • Improves control over management and information systems (such as security or risk management)
  • Good corporate governance also aims at a faster decision-making process by establishing a clear delineation of roles between owners and management.
  • Gives guidance to the owners and managers about what are the goals strategy of the company;
  • Minimizes wastages, corruption, risks, and mismanagement;
  • Helps to create a strong brand reputation;
  • Most importantly – it makes companies more resilient.
  • An increase in staff retention and motivation can be expected, especially from senior staff, when the company has a well-defined and communicated vision and direction.
  • A focus on the company’s core business will also make it easier to penetrate the market and attract the interest of shareholders.
  • Improved reporting on performance in turn leads managers and owners to make more informed and fact-based decisions, leading ultimately to improving sales margins and reducing costs.

Measures to improve Corporate Governance:

  • Ensure a balanced, competent and diverse Board: Business should strive for directors who are qualified, understand the business and can offer a fresh perspective. Studies show Boards with greater gender diversity result in improved financial performance.
  • Review your Board composition on a regular basis to identify any shortcomings and make timely improvements.
  • Build solid foundations for oversight: Establish, monitor and evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the Board and management. The Board needs to have visibility of management actions and key decision making.
  • Gear key performance indicators towards long term value creation not just in the short term.
  • Prioritize risk management: Establish an effective risk management and internal control framework and periodically review its effectiveness. Developing a disaster recovery plan is essential.
  • Ensure integrity in corporate reporting including safeguards such as conducting external audits of the business.
  • Provide timely and balanced information: Providing transparency to key stakeholders both in the good and bad times promotes stakeholders’ confidence in the business.
  • Emphasise integrity, promote ethical behaviours and consult different categories of stakeholders on their interests.
  • Treat shareholders equitably and respect their rights.
  • Ensure adequate disclosures around related parties’ transactions and director’s other interests. This is especially important where a director may have external financial interests that could influence his decision.

Conclusion:

Corporate governance is a system that aims to instil policies and rules that helps maintain the cohesiveness of an organization. It exists to help hold a company accountable, while helping them steer clear of financial, legal, and ethical pitfalls. The importance of corporate governance is made abundantly clear by the direct benefits seen when a good corporate governance framework is in place.


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