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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Unplanned growth, with no defenses against weather disasters, is leaving Indian cities a lot poorer, Illustrate with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Urban flooding is a recurring event. This article highlights the reasons behind it.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way unplanned growth, with no defenses against weather disasters, is leaving Indian cities a lot poorer.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with context of the question.

Body:

Due to global warming, the volume and duration of monsoonal rain are becoming unpredictable, and its catastrophic impacts on cities will become more frequent.

One can give the example of Mumbai city and the urban floods it is witnessing. The revival of the monsoon has affected Mumbai and its suburbs once again. It has disrupted drinking water supplies and had exposed the ill state of its infrastructure.

The limitations of Mumbai’s infrastructure to accommodate intense monsoons, and its inability to provide affordable inner-city housing to the less affluent, are making other cities look more attractive.

Discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Mumbai’s neglect is not unique; most big cities are unsustainably expanding to the suburbs where even basic infrastructure is absent. Lakes and river areas are heavily encroached in these cities. Such unplanned growth, with no defenses against weather disasters, is leaving cities a lot poorer.

Introduction

The revival of the monsoon has overwhelmed Mumbai and its suburbs once again, paralysing life, disrupting drinking water supplies, and exposing the parlous state of its infrastructure. Overburdened drainage, unregulated construction, no regard to the natural topography and hydro-geomorphology all make urban floods a man-made disaster.

As the incidence of climate variability and extreme weather events increases, urban flooding becomes more and more common. While the untimely heavy rains can be attributed to climate variability, the urban flooding is largely due to an unplanned urbanisation.

Body:

  • Causes for the increase
  • Inadequate Drainage Infrastructure:Cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai rely on a century-old drainage system, covering only a small part of the core city.
    • In the last 20 years, the Indian cities have grown manifold with its original built-up area.
    • As the city grew beyond its original limits, not much was done to address the absence of adequate drainage systems.
  • Terrain Alteration:Lasting irreversible damage has been done to the city by property builders, property owners, and public agencies by flattening terrain and altering natural drainage routes.
  • Reducing Seepage:Indian cities are becoming increasingly impervious to water, not just because of increasing built up but also because of the nature of materials used (hard, non-porous construction material that makes the soil impervious).
  • Lax Implementation:Even with provisions of rainwater harvesting, sustainable urban drainage systems, etc, in regulatory mechanisms like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), adoption at user end as well as enforcement agencies remains weak.
  • Encroaching Natural Spaces:The number of wetlands has reduced to 123 in 2018 from 644 in 1956.
    • Green cover is only 9 per cent, which ideally should have been at least 33 per cent.
      • Way forward
    • Need for Holistic Engagement:Urban floods of this scale cannot be contained by the municipal authorities alone. Floods cannot be managed without concerted and focused investments of energy and resources.
      • The Metropolitan Development Authorities, National Disaster Management Authority, State revenue and irrigation departments along with municipal corporations should be involved in such work together.
      • Such investments can only be done in a mission mode organisation with active participation of civil society organisations at the metropolitan scale.
    • Developing Sponge Cities:The idea of a sponge city is to make cities more permeable so as to hold and use the water which falls upon it.
      • Sponge cities absorb the rain water, which is then naturally filtered by the soil and allowed to reach urban aquifers.
      • This allows for the extraction of water from the ground through urban or peri-urban wells.
      • This water can be treated easily and used for city water supply.
    • Wetland Policy:There is a need to start paying attention to the management of wetlands by involving local communities.
      • Without doubt, terrain alteration needs to be strictly regulated and a ban on any further alteration of terrain needs to be introduced.
      • To improve the city’s capacity to absorb water, new porous materials and technologies must be encouraged or mandated across scales.
      • Examples of these technologies are bioswales and retention systems, permeable material for roads and pavement, drainage systems which allow storm water to trickle into the ground, green roofs and harvesting systems in buildings.
    • Drainage Planning:Watershed management and emergency drainage plan should be clearly enunciated in policy and law.
      • Urban watersheds are micro ecological drainage systems, shaped by contours of terrain.
      • Detailed documentation of these must be held by agencies which are not bound by municipal jurisdictions; instead, there is a need to consider natural boundaries such as watersheds instead of governance boundaries like electoral wards for shaping a drainage plan.
    • Water Sensitive Urban Design:These methods take into consideration the topography, types of surfaces (permeable or impervious), natural drainage and leave very less impact on the environment.
      • Vulnerability analyses and risk assessments should form part and parcel of city master plans.
      • In a changing climate, the drainage infrastructure (especially storm water drainage) has to be built considering the new ‘normals’.
      • Tools such as predictive precipitation modelling can help do that and are also able to link it with the adaptive capacity of urban land use.

Conclusion:

These can all be delivered effectively through an urban mission along the lines of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Smart Cities Mission. Urban Flood management will not just help control recurring floods but also respond to other fault lines, provide for water security, more green spaces, and will make the city resilient and sustainable

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent)

2. Getting all Indian tap water may be desirable. But what’s really needed is safe drinking water in our country. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains that clean drinking water is a basic human necessity. It must be ensured by resolving all the challenges.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the clean and safe drinking water situation in India and possible solutions to improve water stressed situation.

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 some key facts related to availability of clean and safe drinking water in India.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the water stress situation in India first. India is facing a water emergency; it has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources. Water availability in the country was about 5,000 cubic meters per capita per year at the time of independence. It was greater than what was necessary. India has failed to generate such additional availability over time.

Discuss the reasons behind the water-stressed situation in India.

Suggest solutions to overcome the situation.

Explain in what way clean drinking water is a basic human necessity. It must be ensured by resolving all the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

 Body

Current scenario of safe drinking water in India:

  • More than 163 million Indians – higher than the population of Russia – do not have access to safe drinking water.
  • Irrespective of the source of water, in most parts of rural India, availability of water decreases dramatically in the summer months as the water levels drop and surface sources may dry up.
  • India’s estimated per capita availability of water in 2025 will be 1,341 cubic metre. This may further fall to 1,140 cubic metre in 2050, bringing it closer to becoming water-scarce.
  • NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index 2018,India ranks 120 out of 122 countries.
  • India is ranked 13thamong the 17 most water-stressed countries of the world.
  • According to the Ministry of Urban Development, 80% of India’s surface water is polluted.
  • Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.
  • For many years, the central and state governments have been making efforts to increase access to safe and adequate drinking water.
  • The provision of a basic quantity of drinking water in rural India has been achieved through hand pumps, dug wells, household water supply (HWS), etc.
  • Thus, while states like Sikkim managed to achieve high levels of HWS, a relatively low percentage of rural Indian households have access to this.

Factors affecting drinking water supply in India:

  • Climate change, increasing water scarcity, population growth, demographic changes and urbanization already pose challenges for water supply systems.
  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
  • Re-use of wastewater, to recover water, nutrients, or energy, is becoming an important strategy.
  • Increasingly countries are using wastewater for irrigation – in developing countries this represents 7% of irrigated land.
  • While this practice if done inappropriately poses health risks, safe management of wastewater can yield multiple benefits, including increased food production.
  • Options for water sources used for drinking water and irrigation will continue to evolve, with an increasing reliance on groundwater and alternative sources, including wastewater.
  • Climate change will lead to greater fluctuations in harvested rainwater.
  • Management of all water resources will need to be improved to ensure provision and quality.
  • Nobinding to the BIS standard in India.
  • The solid waste which is dumped around, toxic industrial waste, and sewage among other factors contribute to pollution of the groundwater.
  • The dissolved solids cannot be removed by chlorination.
  • In rural drinking water service delivery, there is inadequate attention given to taking measures to sustain the source of the water, in most cases groundwater is a challenge.
  • This proposed mission will make source sustainability measures mandatory prior to pumping and distributing water to households.
  • Another issue with the traditional approach to service delivery was that the provision of drinking water was viewed primarily as an engineering solution, with schemes being planned and executed by the public health and engineering departments.
  • However, water is an ideal sector for the applicability of the principle of subsidiarity, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

Jal Jeevan mission – a solution:

  • With adequate capacity building and training, water can be most efficiently managed at the lowest appropriate level.
  • Adopting this principle, the Jal Jeevan Mission’s first preference will be to have community-managed single village ground water-based schemes, wherever sufficient quantity and good quality of groundwater exists.
  • Wherever adequate quantity of safe groundwater is not present, or where it may be technically not feasible to have single-village schemes, surface water-based multi-village schemes will be promoted.
  • Further, in some remote regions, where it may not be techno-economically feasible to have household water supply schemes, local innovations, such as solar-based schemes will be encouraged.
  • It is not commonly known that household waste water from HWS amounts to about 75% of the amount of water supplied.
  • With the rural households to get HWS under the proposed mission, huge quantities of household waste water will be generated across the country, therefore making its effective management critical.
  • There is a plan to include a mandatory provision under the mission for the effective channelling and treatment of household waste water, through appropriate and low cost drainage and treatment systems.
  • Once appropriately treated, this waste water can be used for both recharge of groundwater as well as for irrigation purposes.

Way forward:

  • An extensive information, education and communication will be needed to create a people’s movement for water management.
  • The ongoing Jal Shakti Abhiyan will help in creating awareness about the importance of integrating source sustainability and water reuse.
  • This integrated approach to decentralized, community managed, and sustainable water management is the backbone of the government’s plan to ensure that every household gets the benefits of water supply.

Conclusion:

The Jal Jeevan Mission will be a major step towards improving our people’s ease of living and meeting their aspirations of a New India.

 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3. Account for the role played by public prosecutors in ensuring a fair justice system in the country. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the role of public prosecutors in ensuring a fair justice system.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for the role played by public prosecutors in ensuring a fair justice system in the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with who a public prosecutor is and her/his role in judiciary.

Body:

The answer body must explain in detail that the public prosecutor has an ethical obligation to balance the interests of the victims, the accused, and society. His/her conduct shouldn’t be of a persecutor aiming to persistently harass the accused.

Discuss role of public prosecutor in criminal justice system with examples.

The public prosecutors represent the public and are not mere mouthpieces for law enforcement agencies. They have an ethical obligation to seek justice balancing the interests of the victims of crime, society, and those accused of crimes.

Conclusion:

Thus, public prosecutors who support criminal justice reform can be a powerful force for altering the culture of under trial detention.

Introduction

A Public Prosecutor is considered as the agent of the state to represent the interest of common people in the criminal justice system. The prosecution of the accused is the duty of the state but not individually the duty of the aggrieved party. They are appointed in almost all countries. In the case of Babu vs State of Kerala, the Court observed that Public Prosecutors are ministers of justice who is duty bound to assist the judge in the administration of justice.

The Public Prosecutor is defined in Section 24 of Cr.P.C. They serve as the basic principle of Rule of Law i.e. auld alteram partem (no person shall be condemned unheard).

Body

Functions

The functions of the Public Prosecutor differ according to their designation.

  • Public Prosecutor– supervise the function exercised by the Additional Public Prosecutor in Session Court and High Court.
  • Chief Prosecutor– supervise the functions exercised by Assistant Public Prosecutor in Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
  • Additional Prosecutor- conduct criminal proceedings in the Session Court.
  • Assistant Public Prosecutor- they examine the charge sheet prepared by agencies and submit the acquittal or discharge. They also are responsible for the evaluation of evidence and filing revisions petitions. They also conduct the criminal proceedings in the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate.
  • Director of Prosecution- it is the head office. They exercise the overall control and supervision of officers of Directorate. They also look after the Account Branches.

Role of the Public prosecutor:

Role of Public Prosecutors

  • In the investigating process:
    • To make an appearance in the Court and obtain an arrest warrant
    • To obtain search warrants for conducting a search in specified premises
    • To obtain police custody remand for interrogation (including custodial interrogation) of the accused
    • To initiate a proceeding for the declaration of the non-traceable offender as the proclaimed offender
    • To record the evidence of accused in the police report regarding the advisability of the prosecutions
  • At the time of trial:
    • Sentencing- when the accused is proven guilty, then the defence counsel and the Public Prosecutor further argue to decide the quantum of punishment.
    • At this stage, the Public Prosecutor may argue for the adequate punishment keeping in mind the facts, circumstances of case and gravity of the offence.
    • It helps the judge to arrive at a judicious decision.
    • To conduct a speedy trial- Right to a speedy trial is a fundamental right and it is impliedly given in Article 21of Constitution of India which states “Right to life and Personal Liberty”.
    • The prosecutors have a responsibility to call all the witnesses whose evidence is essential to decide the case.
    • To cross-examine the witness and to see that no witness if left unexamined.
    • To produce all the necessary documents.
    • Public prosecutors also have a role in narrative building. Since they present the state’s case in criminal trials, they build narratives of criminality and criminalisation.
    • Daniel Richman describes them as “adjudicative gatekeepers” who play a key role in translating criminal “law on the books” to criminal “law in action.”
    • Such narratives are especially pernicious in cases involving alleged terrorist activities and “anti-nationals”, where anxieties about the security of the state already haunt the imagination of those in the criminal justice system and ordinary citizens.
    • Thus, public prosecutors who support criminal justice reform can be a powerful force for altering the culture of undertrial detention.
  • Other Important Roles
    • The Public Prosecutor cannot aggravate the facts of the case or deny to examine the witness whose evidence may weaken the case. The main aim must be to discover the truth.
    • He should not defend the accused. It is against the fair play of administration of justice or against the legal profession.
    • He represents the State, not police. He is an Officer of State and is appointed by State Government. He is not a part of any investigating agencies but an independent authority. He is charged with statutory duties.
    • Superintendent of; police or District Magistrate cannot compel to the Public Prosecutor to withdraw the case.
    • If there is an issue which is raised by defence counsel and failed, it should be brought out in the notice of the court by Public Prosecutor.
    • To ensure that justice is done.

Conclusion

The commission of a criminal act is commonly regarded as an offence against the State which to be dealt with by the Criminal Justice machinery of the State Executive. Therefore, on thorough considerations of the above material, it is crystal clear that it is not the duty of Public Prosecutors to quest conviction at all cost. Nor, is their duty to act as an avenging angle for the victim. On the contrary, their fundamental duty is to ensure that justice is delivered and in pursuance of this they should lay before the court all relevant evidence including the evidence that favours the accused. The public prosecutor has an ethical obligation to balance the interests of the victims, the accused, and society.

 

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

4. India must reset its Afghan policy. Engagement with Taliban is a reality which cannot be ignored. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses India’s future Afghan policy in the light of American exit from Afghanistan.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way India must reset its Afghan policy and engagement with Taliban is a reality which cannot be ignored.

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 and context of the question.

Body:

With the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan in process, New Delhi has decided to ramp down its civilian presence in the war-torn country, bracing for a full-blown civil war.

Discuss what should India do; Open talks with Taliban: India must, in its own national interest, begin ‘open talks’ with Taliban. However, this doesn’t mean that India should give recognition to the Taliban.

Explain the evolution of India’s Taliban policy. Also discuss why India should engage the Taliban directly.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India as of now is strategically limited to Indo-pacific arena. Afghanistan could provide, if not immediately, India with a way out.

Introduction

With the withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan in process, Indian government has decided to ramp down its civilian presence in the war-torn country, bracing for a full-blown civil war. India has ‘temporarily’ closed its consulate in Kandahar and evacuated its diplomats and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel stationed there. This follows the decision to suspend operations in the Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Herat. As a result, India today is left with its Embassy in Kabul and the consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif.

Body

India’s traditional position with Taliban:

  • For decades, New Delhi refused to engage with the Taliban.
  • India was among the countries that had refused to recognise the Taliban regime of 1996-2001.
  • India watched Taliban’s growth with concern, assessing early that it was being driven by Pakistan’s army and the ISI.
  • The group’s dependence on Pakistan, its religious extremism, and support for transnational jihadists, including Kashmir-centric outfits, are the core reasons for India remaining distant.
  • The Kandahar hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 forced India to negotiate.
  • At other times, it supported anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
  • Throughout the 1990s, India gave military and financial assistance to the Northern Alliance fighting the Pakistan-sponsored Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
  • Meanwhile the 9/11 attacks and the US crackdown leading to the fall of the Taliban regime took place.
  • When the Taliban re-emerged in 2006-07 to once again challenge US forces, India maintained it was not going to talk with the Taliban.

There are a host of concerns for India in Afghanistan:

  • USA’s diminishing role:
    • A period of adjustment has become essential following former US President’s unilateral announcement that US is pulling its troops out of the conflict-ridden country.
    • Another development was the “framework” deal between the US and Afghan Taliban after six days of discussions at Doha.
    • The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated
  • Control of Afghan government:
    • The Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested.
    • Most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join
    • Afghanistan launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation and also made an unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban. The Taliban rejected his overture, declaring that they were ready to engage in direct talks only with the Americans.
    • Further, India’s outreach to the Taliban could expedite Kabul’s fall, and complicate India’s relations with existing allies.
  • Increasing Taliban attacks:
    • Recently there has been a spike in violence, with the Taliban carrying out a set of coordinated assaults around Afghanistan, rejecting an offer of a three-month ceasefire by President of Afghanistan and laying siege to Ghazni city.
    • The violence this year has also put 2018 on course to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians, with an average of nine people killed every day, according to UN data.
  • Pakistan factor:
    • The major challenge is the cooperation of regional players. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
    • Despite six months of concerted American punitive actions on Islamabad, the Pakistan establishment is not shutting down support for Taliban fighters.
    • The role of Pakistan is going to expand significantly, with the US depending upon it to implement the interim deal. This will be a diplomatic victory for Pakistan.
  • Iran factor:
    • US administration’s collision course with Iran is another hurdle to realising its South Asia policy. Iran is a neighbour to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and any action against Tehran will have consequences on the region.
    • US is also against Iran which is important to give access to the sea to landlocked Afghanistan through Chabahar port- which is in India’s interests etc.
  • Indian interests would be hurt:
  • There is no guarantee that it will prevent the use of Afghan soil by anti-India militants, but it has certainly expressed unwillingness to support such elements.
  • Careful about not being caught between an India-Pakistan crossfire, the Taliban wants to distance itself from the Kashmir imbroglio.
  • The outreach in Doha, then, has instilled cautious optimism among Indian officials that the Taliban may not openly hostile, and may even seek stronger ties in the medium-term.

Why India should engage with Taliban?

  • The Taliban acknowledges India’s constructive role in Afghanistan, and would not want a reduction in its diplomatic presence.
  • India’s absence in the Taliban’s calculus would make it even more expendable if the Islamic republic collapses.
  • India’s support for Kabul and consolidation of relations with powerbrokers such as Marshall Dostum, Muhammad Mohaqiq, Ustad Atta, Ahmad Massoud, Ismail Khan, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Hamid Karzai and others, reduces the risk of dislocating its relationship with existing allies.
  • If India seeks a politically inclusive Afghanistan and builds relations with all ethnic communities, then its outreach to the Taliban requires openness.
  • India’s outreach to the Taliban might complicate Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban once the latter comes to power and faces the pressures of governance and administration.
  • India’s Afghan policy is at a major crossroads; to safeguard its civilian assets there as well as to stay relevant in the unfolding ‘great game’ in and around Afghanistan, India must fundamentally reset its Afghanistan policy.
  • India must, in its own national interest, begin ‘open talks’ with the Taliban before it is too late. The time for hesitant, half-embarrassed backchannel parleys is over.
  • Author suggested that, it is time to ‘openly’ talk to the Taliban, however, it does not mean according recognition to the Taliban.
  • It is only one of the parties in Afghanistan, it is neither the Afghan government, nor a part of it. Not yet.
  • But with over a third of Afghanistan’s more than 400 districts under Taliban control, the talk-to-the-Taliban-option is indeed the best of the many less than perfect options available to India.
  • If India is not proactive in Afghanistan at least now, late as it is, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China will emerge as the shapers of Afghanistan’s political and geopolitical destiny, which for sure will be detrimental to Indian interests

Way forward:

  • Open dialoguewith the Taliban should no longer be a taboo; it is a strategic necessity. Therefore, our outreach must now be direct and unambiguous.
  • Perhaps most importantly, opening up the congested north-western frontieris key to bringing India’s continental grand strategy on an even keel, a process India has already started.
  • Backchannel talks with Pakistan and a consequent ceasefire on the Line of Control, political dialogue with the mainstream Kashmiri leadership, secret parleys with Taliban all indicate that India is opening up its congested north-western frontier.
  • Proactive engagementof the Taliban will provide this effort with more strategic heft.

Conclusion:

Defeatism or a lack of ambition for the India-Afghanistan relationship at this juncture would be much more detrimental to India’s interests than anything the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan’s political centre-stage can do. India needs to reassess its policy choices in close coordination with Russia and Iran, constantly reminding them that complete surrender to the Taliban’s demands will be detrimental to their own security.

 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

6. The evolving threats of money laundering supported by the emerging technologies need to be addressed with the equally advanced Anti-Money Laundering mechanisms. Elucidate.(250 words)

Reference:  ifc.org

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of money laundering and the need for technology driven anti-money laundering mechanism.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss first evolving threats of money laundering and the need to address them.

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 what Money laundering is.

Body:

Money laundering is concealing or disguising the identity of illegally obtained proceeds so that they appear to have originated from legitimate sources. It is frequently a component of other, much more serious, crimes such as drug trafficking, robbery or extortion.  

Discuss the use of technology to Money laundering.

Explain the steps taken by government of India to prevent money laundering.

Suggest the need to develop advanced Anti-Money Laundering mechanisms.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Money laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity, originated from a legitimate source. The money from the illicit activity is considered dirty, and the process “launders” the money to make it look clean.

The term “money laundering” originated from the Mafia group in the United States of America. Mafia groups have made huge amounts of extortion, gambling, etc. and this money is shown as legal money. In India, “money laundering” is popularly known as Hawala transactions.

Body:

Evolving threats of Money laundering:

  • Criminals open online accounts with digital currency exchanges, which accept fiat currency from traditional bank accounts. Then, they start a ‘cleansing’ process (mixing and layering), i.e., moving money into the cryptocurrency system by using mixers, tumblers, and chain hopping (also called cross-currency). Money is moved from one cryptocurrency into another, across digital currency exchanges — the less-regulated the better — to create a money trail that is almost impossible to track.
  • According to the “Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report,” criminals also use theft and gambling to launder cryptocurrencies.
  • Since it doesn’t have regulatory authority, it is easy to trade between countries and can cause money laundering in disguise of trading.
  • Cryptocurrency is highly encrypted and cannot be traced easily.
  • Creation of Dark Web or Dark Market which cause it to exploit users through hacking.
  • Increasing proliferation of new non-cash payment methods such as prepaid cards, internet payments, and mobile payments has opened up new gateways for money launderers.
  • The rapid speed of transactions, coupled with minimal face-to-face interaction between the person initiating the transaction and the service provider, makes these new payment modes vulnerable to money laundering activities.
  • Money launderers are also taking advantage of the increased need for financial institutions to identify and onboard their customers online.
  • Trade-Based Money Laundering takes advantage of trade systems complexity, mostly in international contexts where the involvement of multiple parties and jurisdictions make CDD processes and AML checks more challenging.

Efforts of Government of India to address money laundering:

Statutory framework:

In India, before the enactment of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) the major statutes that incorporated measures to address the problem of money laundering were:

  • PMLA Act:
    • It prescribes obligation of banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries for verification and maintenance of records of the identity of all its clients and also of all transactions and for furnishing information of such transactions in prescribed form to the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND).
    • It empowers the Director of FIU-IND to impose fine on banking company, financial institution or intermediary if they or any of its officers fails to comply with the provisions of the Act as indicated above.
    • PMLA envisages setting up of an Adjudicating Authority to exercise jurisdiction, power and authority conferred by it essentially to confirm attachment or order confiscation of attached properties.
  • The Black money (undisclosed foreign income and assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015:
    • To deal with the menace of the black money existing in the form of undisclosed foreign income and assets by setting out the procedure for dealing with such income and assets.
  • Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2015:
    • It aims to expand the definition of Benami Transactions and specifies the penalty to be imposed on a person entering into a Benami transaction.

Institutional framework:

  • Enforcement directorate:
    • PMLA empowers certain officers of the Directorate of Enforcement to carry out investigations in cases involving offence of money laundering and also to attach the property involved in money laundering.
  • Financial Intelligence Unit:
    • It was established in India in 2004 as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
    • FIU-IND is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes.
    • FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister.

Way forward:

  • Bringing KYC norms into cryptocurrencies.
  • Bringing Japan Model where they are provided with licenses and can be easily traceable.
  • Adhering to FATF guidelines regarding cryptocurrency.
  • Need to expand capabilities on ways to probe virtual assets and regulate virtual asset provides to prevent money laundering.
  • A multi-agency or multi-disciplinary agency to work with public and private partnership is key tackling criminal finances.
  • Strengthening information exchange to dismantle networks.
  • Enforcing new technologies in criminal finance networks.
  • Enacting Data Protection Laws, hiring ‘’White Caps’’ and enabling web audits of money transfer by banks.
  • Financial stability board: Global watchdog that runs financial regulation for G-20 economies for regulating digital currencies.
  • United Kingdom: Its Legal to operate currencies but have to register with financial conduct authority and also assure the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism standards.
  • South Korea: Here it’s not a legal tender but use of anonymous bank accounts for virtual coin trading is prohibited.

Conclusion:

The evolving threats of money laundering supported by the emerging technologies need to be addressed with the equally advanced Anti-Money Laundering mechanisms like big data and artificial intelligence. Both international and domestic stakeholders need to come together by strengthening data sharing mechanisms amongst them to effectively eliminate the problem of money laundering.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

7. What bearing will automation have on the existing work scenario? What steps need to be taken to cope with the changeover of workforce to automation? Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times

Why the question:

A study by Deloitte and global software firm Autodesk has ranked Indian businesses fifth among 12 Asia Pacific (APAC) nations for risk of automation and ninth for level of preparedness. Thus the question.

 Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the impact of automation on the existing work scenario and suggest steps that need to be taken to cope with the changeover of workforce to automation.

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 definition of Automation in general.

Body:

Automation is the application of technology, programs, robotics or processes to achieve outcomes with minimal human input. It is a term for technology applications where human input is minimized. This includes business process automation (BPA), IT automation, personal applications such as home automation and more.

Talk about the drivers of Automation and highlight its potential benefits.

Explain with examples as to how Automation will affect Current Work.

Discuss methods to manage the upcoming workforce transitions.

Conclusion:

Work with automation will be different, requiring new skills, and a far greater adaptability of the workforce than we have seen. Government, private-sector leaders, and innovators all need to work together.

Introduction

India is in the midst of a massive jobs crisis. The unemployment rate has reached a 45-year high (6.1%) in 2017-18 as per leaked data from the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO). According to the PLFS report, the unemployment problem is especially aggravated in India’s cities and towns. Aside from unemployment, there is employability crisis too in India as per a recently released ILO report.

Indian businesses rank fifth among 12 Asia Pacific (APAC) nations for risk of automation and ninth for level of preparedness, a study by Deloitte and global software firm Autodesk showed

Body:

The increasing Automation is threatening the jobs:

  • According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 60 per cent of the formal employment in India relies on “middle-skill” jobs, including clerical, sales, service, skilled agricultural, and trade-related work, all of which are prone to automation.
  • For instance, In the case of India, 51.8% of activities can be automated. Japan and Thailand run the risk of 55.7% and 54.8%, respectively, of their activities being automated. Over 40% of activities can be automated across the world.
  • Similarly, an American medical school tested IBM’s AI technology Watson to analyse 1,000 cancer diagnoses. In 99% of the cases, Watson was able to recommend treatment plans that matched the suggestions of well-renowned oncologists.
  • As the world gets more competitive, as manufacturing gets more competitive, it will use more automation, robotics, technology.
  • New technologies like AI and Robotics improve the functional efficiency drastically than manual methods. Thus large industries will increasingly shift towards the automation in the quest of higher productivity.
  • Automation threatens to impact women more than men, suggests the report. It points out that woman “are a large component of the workforce in retail, business processing outsourcing and textiles/clothing/footwear”. This is primarily because automation threatens sectors where women form a major part of the workforce.
  • Information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITeS) and security services, followed by banking, will be the first sectors to feel the heat, wherein manual transactions and processing jobs will become obso Huge numbers of services jobs in these sectors will be made redundant as a few lines of code will be able to perform the same tasks efficiently and effectively, according to PeopleStrong , a HR solution firm.

Measures to tackle the crisis:

  • Upskilling and Reskilling as part of the present jobs to cater the need of the industries.
  • Incentivizing and encouraging automation in sectors where it is critically necessary.
  • Focusing on increasing the efficacy and efficiency of Micro, Small and Medium scale industries.
  • Government needs to be inept in creating new employment-generating sectors and reform existing ones at a time when machines are systematically cutting down the workforce requirements in the principal labour-generating triumvirate of manufacturing and services sectors.
  • Need to bring structural changes in employment-stagnated areas like Textile, cotton industries to increase employment opportunities in these areas.
  • Government needs to bring more and more workers under formal economy so that they enjoy benefits of social security provided by government and companies.
  • The concept of “smart” work and demand for specific skills must be encouraged in universities to redesign higher education and training and the state to facilitate job-market transition.
  • Futuristic ideas such as livelihood insurance and universal basic income presuppose state capacity to tax and distribute the additional income generated should be pondered upon.

Conclusion:

Automation has economy-wide implications at the macro level and workplace-level implications at the micro level for the worker. The fourth industrial revolution is in progress, India must re-skill workers, rethink social policy, and examine the employment potential of new sectors such as care economy in the long-term.


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