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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 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. Making correct investments in women issues could prove to be transformational in long-term recovery and vigor of our economy and society. Comment.(250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The article brings to us deeper insights of making corrective investments in women issues and the change that it can bring in the economy and society of India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the issues associated with women in India, Women work more, earn less, and face greater health risks and that there is need to make corrective investments to brig transformational change.

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 some key facts/data that can justify your understanding of the question. Women made up just 24% of those working before the pandemic, yet accounted for 28% of all those who lost their jobs. They also constitute 43% of those who are yet to recover their paid work. This had knock-on effects on other aspects of their lives.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the challenges that woman face in India; talk about participation at work, low health indicators, lower access to facilities of education, health, work etc.

Then highlight the role that the welfare schemes and policies have played in changing or addressing these concerns.

Explain the need of transformational change in the way the challenges of woman are dealt in the country.

Discuss the impact of such changed methods on overall economy and society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Women tend to be the backbone of society during crises, even as they are also more likely to face the disproportionate impacts of such events. The Covid-19 pandemic is no different. It has severely exacerbated existing gendered barriers, widened India’s gender gap in the workforce, and affected (overwhelmingly female) caregivers and frontline workers.

Body

Dalberg conducted one of the largest studies of the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 on women in low-income households, which pointed out that there is a multi-generational impact of poor nutrition, lack of access to contraceptives, and debt.

Impact on Women

  • More Women Unemployed:Women were more affected than men by employment issues. Women made up just 24% of those working before the pandemic, yet accounted for 28% of all those who lost their jobs.
  • Issues of Food Insecurity:Loss in incomes for women as well as their households led to reduction in food supply and women were affected more than other members of the family.
  • Issues of Reproductive Health:Women’s health indicators also deteriorated because they could no longer afford contraception and menstrual products. About 16% of women (an estimated 17 million if extrapolated) had to stop using menstrual pads, and more than one in three married women were unable to access contraceptives.
  • Unpaid Labour:Indian women already do almost three times more unpaid work than Indian men, and the survey showed a 47% increase in unpaid labour for women, and a 41% increase in unpaid care work for women.
  • Marginalised Groups:Women from historically marginalised groups (Muslims, migrants, single/separated/divorced), were more affected than the average woman.
    • The variance is across the board, with more single, separated/divorced women having limited food or running out of food and many more Muslim women losing their income and livelihood.
    • Conditions on the ground are likely to worsen for those women (such as dalit womenand transgender individuals) who bear the brunt of social discrmination.

Way Forward

  • Expanding public distribution system (PDS):Expanding PDS beyond food as it’s a far-reaching delivery channel. For instance, women’s access to menstrual pads could be revolutionised in this fashion for the short term, improving reach considerably.
    • Bundling free menstrual hygiene products with PDS would relax women’s dependence on income for these essentials.
    • Optimally, this would go hand-in-hand with national-, state- and district-level awareness drives around menstrual health and hygiene.
  • Benefits of Schemes Must Be Universalised:Enlist Women on MGNREGA job cards to increase the total number of person-days to meet women’s demand for job opportunities.
    • Strengthen the resilience of SHGsby focusing on their economic recovery and market linkages via the existing Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
    • SHGs could also provide technical and managerial training to help women develop the skills needed to run small businesses digitally.
  • Inclusive Approach:Focus on the inclusion of single, divorced/separated women in the One Nation One Ration Card rollout, and build social assistance programmes for informal workers, specifically domestic workers and casual labourers.
  • Increasing Awareness:The government can build upon and accelerate its existing efforts through Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers, Mission Parivar Vikas, and other schemes to strategically focus on contraceptive usage.

According to the survey, one in three women said that government welfare schemes and SHGs had played an important role in helping them navigate the pandemic. Specifically, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, and the public distribution system (PDS) supported 12 million, 100 million, and 180 million women respectively during the crisis.

Conclusion

Thus, there is a need for universalising, deepening, and extending the government schemes and SHG setups in order to help every woman come out of the ill impact from the pandemic as soon as possible.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Critically analyse the features of the draft trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 in abating trafficking from India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article presents to us a critical review of draft trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

Key Demand of the question:

One must critically analyse the features of the draft trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 in abating trafficking from India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by Trafficking and present the status of it in India.

Body:

The answer body must explain how in its current form, the draft trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021 seems to be lacking in nuance, even if well intentioned to stamp out exploitative trafficking.

Explain the key features of the Bill and highlight the shortcomings; According to the United Nations’ human rights experts, it was not in accordance with the international human rights laws.

The Bill seemed to combine sex work and migration with trafficking. The Bill was criticized for addressing trafficking through a criminal law perspective instead of complementing it with a human-rights based and victim-centred approach.

It was also criticized for promoting “rescue raids” by the police as well as institutionalization of victims in the name of rehabilitation. It was pointed out that certain vague provisions would lead to blanket Criminalisation of activities that do not necessarily relate to trafficking.

Conclusion:

Suggest what needs to be done to align the draft bill with the actual goals it desires to achieve and conclude.

Introduction

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines Human Trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit. It is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution or forced labour.

Trafficking in human beings is the third largest organized crime violating basic human rights. There is no specific law so far to deal with this crime. Accordingly, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has prepared and invited suggestions for the draft Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021.

Body

Background of the draft bill:

  • The Bill addresses one of the most pervasive yet invisible crimes affecting the most vulnerable persons especially women and children.
  • The bill, if passed to a law, will make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking.
  • A previous draft had been introduced in 2018 but that could not be introduced in Rajya Sabha amid stiff opposition from Parliamentarians and experts.

Key highlights of the draft bill:

  • Wider reach:
    • The bill extends to all citizens inside as well as outside India.
    • Offenders will also include defence personnel and government servants, doctors and paramedical staff or anyone in a position of authority.
    • It will cover persons on any ship or aircraft registered in India wherever it may be or carrying Indian citizens wherever they may be.
    • It will also cover foreign national or a stateless person who has his or her residence in India at the time of commission of offence under this Act.
    • The law will apply to every offence of trafficking in persons with cross-border implications.
  • Broad ambit of definition of exploitation:
    • The bill defines ‘Exploitation’ with a wide ambit of coverage.
    • Cases such as forced labour, in which people lured with jobs end up in other countries where their passports and documentation is taken away and they are made to work, will also be covered by this new law.
  • Inclusive & Sensitive:
    • It extends beyond the protection of women and children as victims to now include transgenders as well as any person who may be a victim of trafficking.
    • It also does away with the provision that a victim necessarily needs to be transported from one place to another to be defined as a victim.
    • The bill also says the investigation needs to be completed within 90 days from the date of the arrest of the accused.
  • Investigating and Coordinating Agency:
    • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) shall act as the national investigating and coordinating agency responsible for prevention and combating of trafficking in persons.
  • Representative authority:
    • The bill once enacted will empower the Union to notify and establish a National Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, for ensuring overall effective implementation of the provisions of this law.
    • This committee will have representation from various ministries with the home secretary as the chairperson and secretary of the women and child development ministry as co-chair.
    • State and district level anti-human trafficking committees will also be constituted.
  • Stringent nature:
    • The new draft proposes more severe penalties for “aggravated offences” and seeks to crack down on organised crime syndicates.
    • Aggravated offences include cases that may result in the death of the victim or where the victim suffers grievous injury (in cases such as acid attack), organ mutilation or removal of organs, or where the victim is a child.
    • the penalty will hold a minimum of seven years which can go up to an imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.
    • In most cases of child trafficking, especially in the case of the trafficking of more than one child, the penalty is now life imprisonment.
    • It proposes stringent punishments for offenders, including hefty fines, seizing of their properties etc.

Limitations of the draft bill:

Undefined wide ambit of human trafficking:

  • its broad definitions of victims, smacking of refusal to consider consensual sexual activity for commerce, thereby affecting rights of an individual.
  • This would only land up criminalising sex work and victimisation of the exploited.

Redundant law:

  • As far as child trafficking is concerned, Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, along with IPC and CrPC are sufficient and a new law will lead to confusion in implementation.
  • The worker-centric Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, along with CrPC and IPC are sufficient to deal with labour trafficking and a new law is not required in case of bonded labours.

Impacts human rights:

  • The lack of consent while rescuing, rehabilitating or repatriating a person as deeply problematic as it could lead to victimisation of vulnerable populations.
  • For instance, involving NIA officials in investigating trafficking crimes involving children as victims is against the principle of the best interest of child.
  • In this respect, the draft Bill is contrary to the JJ Act, which emphasises on child friendly mechanisms through the provision for Child Welfare Committees, Special Juvenile Police Units and Child Welfare Police Officers.

Overzealous provisions:

  • Various civil society activists and legal experts have criticised some overzealous provisions adopted by the draft legislation to counter human trafficking.
  • Reporting of offences has been made mandatory with penalties for non-reporting.
  • The proposal of the death penalty for various forms of aggravated trafficking offences.

Against federalism:

  • The key aspect of handing over investigation in trafficking crimes to the NIA would be an attack on federalism, by removing local enforcement agencies out of the picture.

Lack of proper rehabilitation measures:

  • The emphasis on criminalisation and policing instead of welfare measures in the new proposed anti-trafficking Bill makes it anti-migrants and anti-sex workers.
  • Institution-based rehabilitation provided in the draft Bill instead of family and community based rehabilitation would estrange the victims further.

Doesn’t impact much on lives of forced labourers:

  • The criminalising intent of the Bill expects a tribal or a dalit migrant worker to take on his employer, but doesn’t deal with improving employer-employee relationship.
  • Instead of harping on creating harmony in the labour market, it talks about forcefully rescuing and sending workers into institutions which will deprive them of their livelihoods.

Overburdened NIA:

  • National investigation agency is an understaffed organisation, that is already tackling the gigantic footprint of terrorism across the subcontinent and there are doubts whether it might be in a position to take on and investigate cases of human trafficking.
  • According to experts most of the trafficking is taking place in small towns so focus should be on policing and not NIA.

Failure to acknowledge root causes:

  • In its current form, the draft Bill seems to be inadequate to stamp out human trafficking given its failure to acknowledge the contributing factors to human trafficking, including vicious poverty, debt, lack of opportunity, and ineffectiveness/inefficiency of the development schemes.

Way forward:

  • There is a need in the urgent establishment of new Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs), and/or upgrade infrastructure in existing ones in all states and UTs.
  • Improving Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code’s definition of trafficking of persons.
  • The definition should be based on the UN Protocol that addresses the issue of vulnerability.
  • The government must refer the Bill to a standing committee for comprehensive consultations.
  • Strengthening the capacity building: To enhance the capacity building of law enforcement agencies and generate awareness among them, various Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for Police officers and for Prosecutors at Regional level, State level and District level were held throughout the country.
  • Judicial Colloquium: In order to train and sensitize the trial court judicial officers, Judicial Colloquium on human trafficking are held at the High court level.
  • The aim is to sensitize the judicial officers about the various issues concerning human trafficking and to ensure speedy court process.
  • Police should be proactive in booking the cases under trafficking provisions. Often cases are booked as kidnapping or missing person cases even though there is clear evidence of trafficking.
  • Increase investigations and prosecutions of officials allegedly complicit in trafficking, and convict and punish those found guilty
  • Improve central and state government implementation of protection programs and compensation schemes to ensure trafficking victims receive benefits, release certificates, and rehabilitation funds
  • Develop and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) to harmonize victim identification and repatriation, and the prosecution of suspected traffickers when trafficking crimes cross state lines
  • Shelter homes need to upgraded to protect children and provide necessary services to them.
  • Encourage state and territory compliance with the Supreme Court’s recommendation to audit all government-run and -funded shelter homes.
  • Cease penalisation of trafficking victims.

Conclusion:

Given the heightened vulnerabilities to trafficking due to Covid-19, governments need to work right from seeking “appropriate” compensation for victims to vigorous investigations of all cases of trafficking, including bonded labour, as well as strictly deal with “official complicity”. The draft bill is a step ahead in the measures which were bold and holistic response to a socioeconomic problem of trafficking. This can help India realise SDG 8.7.

 

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

3. “Fraternity can be a fact only when there is a nation. Without fraternity, equality and liberty will be no deeper than coats of paint”, Elaborate upon the statement in light of a tolerant majoritarian India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article talks about the importance of majoritarian pluralism of the country and its importance.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate upon the quote in the question statement and suggest the importance of tolerant majoritarian India.

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 your brief understanding of the quote.

Body:

Discuss what you understand by Majoritarianism and tolerance with respect to India.

Explain why there is a need for the two to coexist together.

Suggest examples to explain and highlight solutions such as – The antidote to the fear of other social groups, especially minorities, often is increased interaction among them in a variety of public and private settings.

Conclusion:

Social reality and complexity cannot be reduced to numbers. After all, one cannot compare attitudes of different social groups blandly without understanding power differences. But quantitative surveys are still necessary tools. Majoritarianism, accompanied by mere tolerant acceptance of minority communities as non-interacting enclaves, is the death knell of democracy.

Introduction

Fraternity means a sense of common brotherhood of all Indians – of Indians being one people. It is the principle which gives unity and solidarity to social life. No one should treat a fellow citizen as inferior. While the morals of Preamble like- Justice, Equality, Liberty have been explicitly and implicitly ensured through Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and other constitutional provisions, this is not the case with Fraternity.

Body

Fraternity in Indian Context

  • Sense of common brotherhood transcending religion, language, regional or sectional diversities (Article 51A). This is to be promoted through single citizenship.
  • Despite this, communal violence like 2002 Gujarat riots, ongoing Citizenship Amendment Act protest and violence, North-South divide based on languages, and other social disturbances due to differences in diversity and inability to come to common terms for living in harmony are common.
  • Dignity of Individuals by maintaining material betterment of individual and democratic setup.
  • Caste system seperates individuals in social life.They develop jealousy and antipathy among each other.
  • Urge for self-realisation in the down-trodden classes must no be allowed to devolve into a class struggle or class war. It would lead to a division of the House
  • Challenges to this include income inequality based on caste, gender, low social status of women like rape, domestic violence, less economic participation, challenges to democratic setup like the use of money and muscle power in elections.
  • Unity and Integrity of the nation at both levels: psychological and territorial.
  • Still secessionist movements persist like demand for Greater Nagalim, lack of unified polity manifested in temporary provisions for certain states like Article 371, border disputes, especially with Pakistan and China. At psychological level issues include communalism, regionalism, linguism etc.

Conclusion

Fraternity is an important element for a strong nation-state that encompasses diversity as large as that of India’s. This had been cherished during nationalist freedom struggle also reminded by 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act by adding the word integrity.

 

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

4. India must recognise the right to social security for migrant and informal workers in order to prevent the looming migrant crisis in the country. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The migrants’ crisis after the two Covid waves compelled policy-makers to make certain provisions for them in the schemes announced for the assistance of the poor.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need to recognise the right to social security for migrant and informal workers in order to prevent the looming migrant crisis in the country.

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 background of the issue.

Body:

On June 29, the Supreme Court finally delivered its judgment on the plight of migrant labour. The judgment was notable for two main reasons. First, it recognized that there was the large-scale exclusion of migrant workers and other informal workers from existing schemes due to the lack of their registration and outdated eligibility lists. It noted that no benefits will be denied to migrant workers for want of an Aadhaar card and that food assistance will be provided for migrants who were not covered by the National Food Security Act. Second, it connected informal workers and migrant workers, both of whom experience exclusion, and mandated that the portal for registration of all informal/migrant workers should be fully operational before July 31.

Then discuss the advantages of providing social protection.

Comment on the inadequate provisions by government.

Conclusion:

Suggest what needs to be done and conclude.

Introduction

The migrants’ crisis after the two covid waves compelled policy-makers to make certain provisions for them in the schemes announced for the assistance of the poor.

Body

Supreme Court judgement on the issue

  • On June 29, the Supreme Court finally delivered its judgment on the plight of migrant labour.
  • The judgement was notable for two main reasons.
  • First, it recognised that there was the large-scale exclusion of migrant workers and other informal workers from existing schemes due to the lack of their registration and outdated eligibility lists.
  • It noted that no benefits will be denied to migrant workers for want of an Aadhaar card and that food assistance will be provided for migrants who were not covered by the National Food Security Act.
  • Second, it connected informal workers and migrant workers, both of whom experience exclusion, and mandated that the portal for registration of all informal/migrant workers should be fully operational before July 31.

Advantages of providing social protection

  • Investment in social protection is not charity, it is an investment in workers’ productivity and in equitable growth.
  • Providing social protection is, as the UN mooted in 2009 when it spelt out the social protection floor (SPF) initiative after the global financial crisis, the surest way out of a crisis by boosting demand at the bottom of the pyramid.
  • The report of the Advisory Committee of the ILO, in which India was represented by its labour secretary, provides a strong rationale for instituting a universal SPF during economic crises.
  • As a result, all constituents of the ILO adopted Recommendation 202 on social protection floors at the International Labour Conference in 2012.

Inadequate provisions by government

  • The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, was approved by Parliament in December 2008.
  • But it lacks the mandatory elements of the NCEUS’s proposals and included neither a National Minimum Social Security Package, nor the provision for mandatory registration.
  • Estimates show that the central government’s expenditure on all major social protection programmes declined from 1.96 per cent of GDP in 2008-09 to 1.6 per cent in 2013-14 and to only 1.28 per cent in 2019-20.

Way forward

  • The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector had pointed out that the circular migrant workers were a disadvantaged segment among informal workers.
  • Comprehensive law:The NCEUS had advocated a comprehensive law for the protection of the rights of all informal workers, including migrants, home workers, and domestic workers.
  • Universal registration:NCEUS had also recommended a universal registration mechanism based on self-declaration, with the issuance of a smart social security card, and a National Minimum Social Security Package.
  • Guaranteed social security/social protection:We need the provision of a minimum level of guaranteed social security/social protection for all informal workers and their households within a definite time frame.
  • More public spending:Guaranteed social protection would involve a clear framework and a commitment to greater public resources being spent on social protection as a large class of workers in India do not have an identifiable employer and a contributory social insurance framework will not work for them.
  • Recommendation 202:Government should embrace ILO’s Recommendation 202 and work towards these in a time-bound manner.

Conclusion

To end the silent, painful, and enduring crisis for the workers, as well as the crisis for the economy, the government must urgently recognise the right to social security, embedded both in the Indian Constitution and international covenants.

 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

5. Regardless of threats of terrorism, India has taken several steps at innumerable levels for the all-inclusive development of Afghanistan. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains in what way the Taliban’s possible triumph threatens not just India’s diplomatic stakes in Afghanistan, but also 20 years and $3 billion worth of Indian investment in various projects — dams, roads, trade infrastructure.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the role played by India in Afghanistan despite the threats of Terrorism.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain first about India’s Investment in Afghanistan. India has built vital roads, dams, electricity transmission lines and substations, schools, and hospitals among others in Afghanistan. India’s development assistance is now estimated to be worth well over $3 billion. The 2011 India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement recommitted Indian assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and institutions.

Talk about its bilateral trade.

Highlight the threats India faces owing to terrorism.

Explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward.

Introduction

The Afghanistan-India relation is unique and dynamic prefacing shared vision of economic, social and cultural periphery. The proximity is accounted with active engagement and prioritizing to accomplish better strategic relation of India with Afghanistan in bringing economic development, stability and peace that will ultimately usher progress in the country. The prestigious history of Afghanistan-India relations is an excellent reputation on the bilateral front covering all the aspects of friendliness, trust, mutual interest, people-to-people contact. Today both the nations cherish this bonding on a wider spectrum and prioritizing the multi-layered dimensions seeking greater bilateral cooperation.

Body

India’s Infrastructure Investment as the part of India- Afghanistan Strategic relationship:

India-Afghan Friendship Dam (Salma dam)

  • Already, there has been fighting in the area where one of India’s high-visibility projects is located — the 42MW Salma Dam in Herat province.
  • The hydropower and irrigation project, completed against many odds and inaugurated in 2016, is known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam.
  • In the past few weeks, the Taliban have mounted attacks in nearby places, killing several security personnel.
  • The Taliban claim the area around the dam is now under their control.

Irrigation projects

  • Shahtoot Dam and drinking water project will open major opportunities expecting to supply irrigation water for about 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and drinking water to around two million people in Kabul city.
  • The water supply network for Charikar, Parwan province is near completion which was self-funded by Afghanistan and India.

Zaranj-Delaram highway

  • The other high-profile project was the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram highway built by the Border Roads Organisation. Zaranj is located close to Afghanistan’s border with Iran.
  • With Pakistan denying India overland access for trade with Afghanistan, the highway is of strategic importance to New Delhi, as it provides an alternative route into landlocked Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar port.

Afghan Parliament Building

  • The Afghan Parliament in Kabul was built by India at $90 million.
  • It was opened in 2015; PM Modi inaugurated the building.
  • A block in the building is named after former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Stor palace

  • In 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and PM Modi inaugurated the restored Stor Palace in Kabul, originally built in the late 19th century.
  • It is famous for the 1919 Rawalpindi Agreement by which Afghanistan became an independent country.

Power infrastructure projects

  • Other Indian projects in Afghanistan include the rebuilding of power infrastructure such as the 220kV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan province to the north of Kabul.
  • Indian contractors and workers also restored telecommunications infrastructure in many provinces.

Health infrastructure projects

  • India’s cooperation in health and nutrition sector has immensely attributed on positive note.
  • Assistance to the Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health (IGICH) which is established in 1970 is 200,000 USD per annum.
  • India has reconstructed a children’s hospital it had helped build in Kabul in 1972 —named Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health in 1985 — that was in shambles after the war.
  • ‘Indian Medical Missions’ have held free consultation camps in several areas.
  • Thousands who lost their limbs after stepping on mines left over from the war have been fitted with the Jaipur Foot.
  • India has also built clinics in the border provinces of Badakhshan, Balkh, Kandahar, Khost, Kunar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Nooristan, Paktia and Paktika.
  • India has been contributing US $ 5 million, spread over 5 years to the Afghan Red Society Program to treat congenital heart disease in children.

Transportation sector

  • According to the MEA, India gifted 400 buses and 200 mini-buses for urban transportation, 105 utility vehicles for municipalities, 285 military vehicles for the Afghan Army.
  • It also gave three Air India aircraft to Ariana, the Afghan national carrier, when it was restarting operations.

Education sector

  • India’s scholarships to Afghan students aimed at fulfilling and supporting for building their respective human resource domains.
  • India’s ongoing project to upgrade Habibia High School is of US 1$ million spread over 10 years.
  • Thousands of Afghan students study in India, and Afghanistan is the largest recipient of 1000 scholarships provided by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and one year vocational and skill training will be added to the existing scholarships.
  • 500 scholarships to the children of martyrs of Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) have been incorporated to which 82 admissions have been offered under this scheme for the current academic year.

Other projects

  • India has contributed desks and benches for schools, and built solar panels in remote villages, and Sulabh toilet blocks in Kabul.
  • New Delhi has also played a role in building capacity, with vocational training institutes, scholarships to Afghan students, mentoring programmes in the civil service, and training for doctors and others.

Various ongoing projects

  • Last year, India pledged $1 million for another Aga Khan heritage project, the restoration of the Bala Hissar Fort south of Kabul, whose origins go back to the 6th century.
  • Bala Hissar went on to become a significant Mughal fort, parts of it were rebuilt by Jahangir, and it was used as a residence by Shah Jahan.

 Way forward:

  • It was rightly said by Indian Prime Minister “When Afghanistan becomes a haven of peace and a hub for the flow of ideas, commerce, energy and investments in the region, we will prosper together.”
  • India’s vision for prosperous and stable Afghanistan has broadened the realms of friendship in the hearts of Afghan people.
  • Hope trust and cooperation will bring prosperity across the region.
  • A collective approach in the region with shared understanding and exchange of technical knowledge and expertise will achieve new vision for Afghanistan.

Conclusion

For comprehensive peace, stability and prosperity all the regional countries need to work together in building and shaping cooperation frameworks, making substantive contributions thus bringing about a brighter future for Afghanistan.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. Explain the RBI’s Data localisation policy and the justification behind it. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently banned Mastercard from issuing new debit and credit cards to customers in India with effect from July 22. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the RBI’s Data localisation policy and the justification behind it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what the RBI’s policy is about.

Body:

Data localisation is storing of data on a device physically present within the borders of the country where the data was generated.

Discuss why RBI is for the data localisation policy.

Explain what is the need for local data storage?

Discuss the challenges associated with it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Data localisation is the practice of storing data on any device that is physically present within the borders of the country where the data is generated. As of now, most of these data are stored, in a cloud, outside India.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed restrictions on Mastercard Asia / Pacific Pte. Ltd. from on-boarding new domestic customers (debit, credit or prepaid) onto its card network for non-compliance with the regulator’s directions.

Body

Localisation mandates that companies collecting critical data about consumers must store and process them within the borders of the country.

According to the RBI, the U.S. card-issuer Mastercard has failed to comply with the local data storage rules announced by the central bank in 2018.

RBI’s data localisation policy

  • In 2018, the RBI had issued a circular ordering card companies such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express to store all Indian customer data locally so that the regulator could have “unfettered supervisory access”.
  • This meant that foreign card companies had to store complete information about transactions made by Indian customers in servers located within India.
  • The reason offered by the RBI to back up its data localisation rule was that local storage of consumer data is necessary to protect the privacy of Indian users and also to address national security concerns.

As per the data- localisation norms set by RBI:

  • While there is no bar on the processing of payment transactions outside India, the Payment System Operators (PSOs) will have to ensure the data is stored only in India after the processing.
  • In case the processing is done abroad, the data should be deleted from the systems abroad and brought back to India not later than the one business day or 24 hours from payment processing, whichever is earlier. The same should be stored only in India.
  • The data stored in India can be accessed for handling customer disputes, whenever required.
  • The payment system data may be shared with an overseas regulator if required, but with the approval of RBI.
  • Some banks, especially foreign, that had been permitted to store the banking data abroad may continue to do so. However, in respect of domestic payment transactions, the data shall be stored only in India.
  • The data stored domestically must include:
  • End-to-end transaction details and information related to payment or settlement transaction collected or processed as part of a payment.
  • Information such as customer name, mobile number, email, Aadhaar number, PAN number.
  • Payment sensitive data such as customer and beneficiary account details; payment credentials such as OTP, PIN, Passwords.

 

Advantages of Data Localisation

  • Secures citizen’s data and provides data privacy and data sovereignty from foreign surveillance. Example – Facebook shared user data with Cambridge Analytica to influence voting.
  • Unfettered supervisory access to data will help Indian law enforcement ensure better monitoring.
  • Ensures National Security by providing ease of investigation to Indian Law Enforcement agencies as they currently need to rely on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) to obtain access to data.
  • It will give local governments and regulators the jurisdiction to call for the data when required.
  • Data centre industries are expected to benefit due to the data localisation which will further create employment in India.
  • Greater accountability from firms like Google, Facebook etc. about the end use of data.
  • Minimises conflict of jurisdiction due to cross border data sharing and delay in justice delivery in case of data breach.

Challenges of Data Localisation

  • Maintaining multiple local data centres may lead to significant investments in infrastructure and higher costs for global companies.
  • Infrastructure in India for efficient data collection and management is lacking.
  • Splinternet or ‘fractured internet’ where the domino effect of protectionist policy can lead to other countries following suit.
  • Even if the data is stored in the country, the encryption keys may still remain out of the reach of national agencies.
  • Forced data localisation can create inefficiencies for both businesses and consumers. It can also increase the cost and reduce the availability of data-dependent services.

What lies ahead?

  • Indian banks that are currently enrolled in the Mastercard network are expected to make alternative arrangements with other card companies.
  • The process is expected to take a few months, and their card business is expected to take a significant hit meanwhile.
  • The RBI’s data localisation policy, as it burdens foreign card companies, may end up favouring domestic card issuers like RuPay. Mastercard owns about one-third of the market share in India, and the RBI’s ban is likely to significantly benefit its competitors.
  • Similarly, the ban on American Express and Diners Club earlier in 2020 benefited the Indian card network RuPay.
  • Some believe that even Visa, a foreign company which dominates card payments in India, may come under regulatory pressure in the near future.
  • Thus, the card payments sector may end up being restricted to a few domestic companies, which in turn can lead to reduced competition. This could mean higher costs and lower quality services for customers.

Conclusion

There is need to have an integrated long-term strategy for policy creation for data localisation. Adequate infrastructure and adequate attention need to be given to the interests of India’s Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industries, which are thriving on cross border data flow.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. ‘Even though we may assume that behaviour is rooted in attitude, they are attitudes and actual behaviour are not always perfectly aligned’. Explain the cases where you noticed of divergence in behaviour from attitude with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  researchgate.net

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of attitude and behaviour and the relationship between the two.

Key Demand of the question:

With suitable examples explain the possible divergence in behaviour from attitude with examples.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by Attitude and Behaviour.

Body:

Attitudes are views, beliefs, or evaluations of people about something (the attitude object). The attitude object can be a person, place, thing, ideology, or an event. Attitudes can be positive or negative.

While attitude involves mind’s predisposition to certain ideas, values, people, systems, institutions; behaviour relates to the actual expression of feelings, action or inaction orally or/and through body language.

Explain that Difference between attitudes and behaviors is best described by Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory.

Give examples to depict divergence in behaviour from attitude.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

Attitude is a person’s mental outlook, which defines the way we think or feel anything. It has a strong impact on our decisions, actions, stimuli, etc. Behaviour is an individual’s reaction to a particular action, person or environment. It is the manner of acting or controlling oneself towards other people.

Body

Relationship between attitude and behaviour:

  • Attitude refers to a person’s mental view, regarding the way he/she thinks or feels about someone or something. Behaviour implies the actions and conduct of an individual or group towards other persons.
  • Attitude is more personal. Behaviour is expression of personal thoughts and feelings, depicted socially.
  • A person’s attitude is mainly based on the experiences gained by him during the course of his life and observations. The behaviour of a person is based on the situation and circumstances guided by experiences gained.
  • Attitude is a person’s inner thoughts and feelings. Behaviour is an expression of person’s attitude.
  • Attitude is a hypothetical construct whose direct observation is not possible. Behaviour is visible through consequences and result of one’s attitude.
  • Attitude is defined by the way we perceive things. Behaviour is ruled by social norms.
  • Attitude reflects one’s emotions, opinions and thoughts. Behaviour reflects one’s attitude as actions are the reflection of our thoughts

How attitude guides an individual’s behaviour?

People behave in accordance with their attitudes. Our attitudes develop over time and not only reflect where we have come from but also how we will proceed with our life in the future. Attitudes are therefore a powerful element in our life, are long enduring and hard to change easily.

Attitude is one of the main factors that trigger emotions, decision-making, thinking and behaviour in an individual. Following are some examples of how attitude influence the behaviour:

  • A positive attitudecan will lead to a positive behaviour.

Eg. A person who has positive attitudes towards work and co-workers (such as contentment, friendliness, etc.) can positively influence those around them.

  • Similarly negative attitudelead to negative behaviour.

Eg. if a person have a negative attitude towards women, he will discriminate women in all fronts of life.

  • A selfish attitudewill guide individual’s action in same manner.

Eg. A cricketer who put his self-interest and profit above the nation, will take money to lose the game.

  • Logic or rational attitudesdevelop a rational behaviour.

Eg. a rational person will not act superstitiously and will always try to find rational behind any act.

  • An egoistic attitudewill result in a negative attitude and behaviour.

Eg. elder individuals control their younger siblings even if they are wrong to satisfy their ego of being elder.

  • An attitude based on values and beliefs will act according to the values.

Eg. in India touching feet of elders is guided by attitude of giving respect to them.

However, attitudes and actual behaviours are not always perfectly aligned.  The degree of influence begins with the assumption that we behave in accordance with our conscious intentions. They are based, on our rational calculations about the potential effects of our attitude towards our behaviour and about how other people will feel about it.

  • People may actually alter their attitudes in order to better align them with their behaviours.
  • Cognitive dissonanceis a phenomenon in which a person experiences psychological distress due to conflicting thoughts or beliefs. In order to reduce this tension, people may change their attitudes to reflect their other beliefs or actual behaviours.

The strength with which an attitude is held is often a good predictor of behaviour.

  • Importance / personal relevance refers to how significant the attitude is for the person and relates to self-interest, social identification and value.
  • If an attitude has a high self-interest for a person (i.e. it is held by a group the person is a member of or would like to be a member of, and is related to a person’s values), it is going to be extremely important.
  • As a consequence, the attitude will have a very strong influence upon a person’s behaviour.

Conclusion

Changing anything pre-eminent and settled attitude or behaviour, both, is difficult, as its human instinct. However, change can be bought through self-discovery or external inspiration.  A complete change in attitude may be difficult but rigidness of attitude can be lowered by training. The scope of their thinking can be extended which can make them see the other side of coin. For this both theoretical and practical training is required. Training provides more inputs to the process which is helpful in shaping the attitude of a person.


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