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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 September 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: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. The Green Revolution and the benefits that accrued out of it helped transform the Indian economy from a state of food deficient country to a food surplus one. However, it had its own limitations. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Chapter-3 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the benefits and limitations of green revolution in India.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining green revolution.

Body:

Mention on the fact about how Green Revolution took care of India’s food security crisis by boosting food productivity, introduction of farm machinery etc. On the flipside discuss the new issues arising from Green revolution such as high usage of pesticide and weedicide, side-lining  of small and marginal farmers, declining soil fertility, depletion of ground water etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that Green Revolution took care of the issues of its time, however now it is necessary to bring in approach of sustainability while maintaining the productivity in agriculture.

Introduction

The green revolution in India led by M.S Swaminathan in 1960’s and 70’s refers to a period when Indian Agriculture was converted into an industrial system due to the adoption of modern methods and technology such as the use of HYV seeds, tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers. The Economic Survey 2015-16 claimed Indian agriculture to be “a victim of its own success—especially the green revolution”, by becoming cereal-centric, regionally biased and input-intensive (land, water and fertilizers).

Body

In a nutshell, Green revolution in India led to Substantial increase in agricultural production and productivity and reduction in the import of food-grains. The adoption of New technology and modernization of agriculture strengthened the linkages between agriculture and industry. Rural employment in turn led to prosperity of the farmers.

Limitations of Green revolution:

  • Focus only on Food Grains:
    • Although all food-grains including wheat, rice, jowar, bajra and maize have gained from the revolution, other crops such as coarse cereals, pulses and oilseeds were left out of the ambit of the revolution.
    • Major commercial crops like cotton, jute, tea and sugarcane were also left almost untouched by the Green Revolution.
    • This ultimately led to the dangerous trend of Monocropping.
  • Limited Coverage of HYVP:
    • High Yielding Variety Programme (HYVP) was restricted to only five crops: Wheat, Rice, Jowar, Bajra and Maize.
    • Therefore, non-food grains were excluded from the ambit of the new strategy.
  • Led to Regional Disparities:
    • It led to growing disparities in economic development at inter and intra-regional levels.
    • Only 40 percent of the total cropped area benefitted while the rest was left untouched by it.
    • The most benefitted areas are Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh in the north and Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the south.
    • It has hardly touched the Eastern region, including Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa and arid and semi-arid areas of Western and Southern India.
    • Only those areas which were already better placed from an agricultural point of view benefitted from Green revolution leading to further aggravated regional disparities.
  • Rampant usage of Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides:
    • The Green Revolution resulted in a large-scale use of pesticides and synthetic nitrogen fertilisers for improved irrigation projects and crop varieties.
    • However, little or no efforts were made to educate the farmers, mostly illiterate, about the high risk associated with the intensive use of pesticides.
    • This caused more harm than good to crops and also becomes a cause for environment and soil pollution.
  • Water Consumption:
    • The crops introduced during the green revolution were water-intensive crops.
    • Most of these crops being cereals, required almost 50% of dietary water footprint.
    • Canal systems were introduced, and irrigation pumps also sucked out the groundwater to supply the water-intensive crops, such as sugarcane and rice, thus depleting the groundwater levels.
    • For instance, Punjab is a major wheat- and rice-cultivating area, and hence it is one of the highest water depleted regions in India.
  • Impacts on Soil and Crop Production:
    • Repeated crop cycle in order to ensure increased crop production depleted the soil’s nutrients.
    • To meet the needs of new kinds of seeds, farmers increased fertilizer usage.
    • The pH level of the soil increased due to the usage of these alkaline chemicals.
    • Toxic chemicals in the soil destroyed beneficial pathogens, which further led to the decline in the yield.
  • Unemployment:
    • Except in Punjab, and to some extent in Haryana, farm mechanization under the Green Revolution created widespread unemployment among agricultural labourers in the rural areas.
    • The worst affected were the poor and the landless labourers.
  • Health Hazards:
    • The large-scale use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides such as Phosphamidon, Methomyl, Phorate, Triazophos and Monocrotophos resulted in resulted in a number of critical health illnesses including cancer, renal failure, stillborn babies and birth defects.

Conclusion:

The Green Revolution, which undeniably ended the country’s “ship-to-mouth” existence and transformed it into an exporter of rice and wheat. In spite of the negative impact, the success of green revolution cannot be dwarfed. The spill over effect of green revolution led to the growth of farm mechanization industries to provide tractors, Fertilizer and pesticide, Agro-based industries etc.

However, it has also led to lopsided growth in agriculture, causing regional and other disparities. Now coupled with frequent droughts, Indian agriculture is under distress. Thus, there is a need for a second green revolution.  The second green revolution must be an Evergreen Revolution, which incorporates technology in harmony with ecology.

Value addition:

Need for second green revolution:

  • The need for a Second Green Revolution is being experienced more than ever before.
  • One in every two Indians relies on agriculture for livelihood, yet India still has the second highest number of undernourished people in the world.
  • The agriculture sector is at crossroads with rising demand for food items and relatively slower supply response in many commodities resulting in frequent spikes in food inflation. E.g.: Tomato, onion, pulses.
  • There is a marked drop in the yield and production of cereals, underpinned by abysmally low nutrient consumption per hectare.
  • The farmers don’t get remunerative prices for their produce. By enhancing the returns farmers get on their production is essential for incentivising the farmers to produce more
  • The Economic Survey 2015-16 raised an alarm over the dismal performance of the farm sector saying the Indian agriculture has not seen any big technological breakthrough since the 1960s.
  • The food safety net for each of India’s billion-plus citizens requires enhanced agriculture production and productivity.
  • Special attention is required to increase production of nutrition-rich crops like pulses, fruits and vegetables — which remained untouched in the first Green Revolution.
  • There is a need for Indian agriculture to diversify from just crop farming to livestock, fisheries, poultry and horticulture, besides focusing on raising farm productivity with adequate focus on rain-fed areas.
  • The Green Revolution has made us self-sufficient in food grains, but the environmental consequences and ecological costs are offsetting the progress made.
  • The ground water is depleted and polluted. The lakes and ponds are becoming life less due to eutrophication – a direct consequence of Green Revolution.
  • Climate change is tightening its grip and threatening food supply, not just in India but worldwide. It has never been more important to protect the scarce natural resources that are essential to agriculture.

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. What were the factors that led to nationalisation of banks? Examine its impact on economic development and job creation. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter – 17 – India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about reasons behind nationalisations of banks and its impact.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Begin by mentioning the nationalisation of 14 banks in India in 1969 as a major move to ensure lending to the poor and far-flung areas in India.

Body:

Mention about the need for such a move vis-à-vis promotion of private lenders during those times. Further, mention about the numerous NPAs accumulation, huge job creation without assurance of quality professionals etc. Also, stress in the impact of socialistic thought on the nationalisation.

Nationalisation of banks has served many purposes and is very much relevant with respect to credit flow, financial inclusion, creating employment etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by linking this present-day status of nationalised banks.

Introduction

It has been more than 50 years of bank nationalisation in India that began the midnight of July 19, 1969. It started under the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with nationalisation of 14 major lenders that accounted for 85 per cent of bank deposits in the country at that time. Six more banks were later nationalised in 1980. The core objective for nationalisation was to energise priority sectors at a time when the large businesses dominated credit profiles.

Body

Factors and reasons that led to nationalisation of banks

  • Lesser lending to rural areas: Even though the banks lent credit, the disbursal to the rural areas and small scale borrowers was far less as compared to the industry despite the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
  • Agriculture credit neglected: The loans by commercial banks to industry nearly doubled between 1951-1968 from 34 to 68 per cent, even as the agriculture received less than 2 per cent. The government of the time believed that the banks failed to support its socio-economic objectives and hence, it should increase its control over them.
  • Expansion of banking: The idea was to ensure reach of bank to unserved and underserved areas, especially remote hinterland. This would result in formalising the economy to an extent.
  • Mobilization of savings: Nationalisation aimed at mobilizing the savings of the people to the largest possible extent and to utilize them for productive purposes.
  • Economic and Political reasons: Bank nationalization was one of Indira Gandhi’s responses to the economic and political challenges of the time.
    • For example, there were two wars—with China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965—that put immense pressure on public finances .
    • Two successive years of drought had not only led to food shortages, but also compromised national security.
  • The main objective was to Reduce regional imbalance and increase Priority Sector Lending.

Impact on economic development and job creation

  • Increase in Savings: Financial savings rose as lenders opened new branches in areas that were unbanked. Gross domestic savings almost doubled as a percentage of national income in the 1970s.
  • Improve in bank efficiency: Due to the nationalization of banks, the efficiency of the banking system in India improved. This also boosted the confidence of the public in banks.
  • Small scale industries boost: The sectors that were lagging behind like small-scale industries and agriculture got a boost. This led to an increase in funds and thus increases in the economic growth of India.
  •  Penetration of banks: The nationalization of banks also increased the penetration of banks. This was mainly seen in the rural areas of India.
  • Financial inclusion:  India’s nationalisation led to an impressive growth of financial intermediation.
    • The share of bank deposits to GDP rose from 13% in 1969 to 38% in 1991. The gross savings rate rose from 12.8% in 1969 to 21.7% in 1990.
    • The share of advances to GDP rose from 10% in 1969 to 25% in 1991. The gross investment rate rose from 13.9% in 1969 to 24.1% in 1990.
    • Nationalisation also demonstrated the utility of monetary policy in furthering redistributionist goals.
  • Outreach increased: Banks were no longer confined to only metropolitan or cosmopolitan in India. In fact, the Indian banking system has reached even to the remote corners of the country.
  • Green Revolution: This is one of the main reasons for India’s growth process, particularly in the Green revolution. It led to increased food security in India, reducing dependence on food grain imports.

Negative impact of nationalisation of banks

  • Bad loans: After nationalization, some banks were operating under losses .This is because banks advance loan without adequate security. The recovery of loan was poor which lead to losses.
  • Inefficiency: Due to the nationalisation of banks, there was a bureaucratic attitude in the banking sector. There was no responsibility, accountability or incentive for it to progress within the public sector banks. Unwarranted delays were the new norm within these banks.
  • Long-term risks: Though liberal credit is necessary for the development of rural India; it had also created harmful effects on the stability of the banking sector. The nationalised banks are now facing the problems of overdue loans and the establishment of economically unviable branches.
  • Political Interference: Another limitation of nationalized commercial banks was increasing the political interference in granting loans, appointment of banks personnel, opening of new branches etc.
  • Inadequate Facilities: Nationalized commercial banks have failed to provide adequate facilities and services to population living in rural and sub urban area. Banks failed to mobilize rural deposit.

Although the government had succeeded in partially meeting its goal of implementing its developmental agenda through the banking sector, many in India did not reap the benefits intended by the nationalisation of banks.

Conclusion

Bank nationalization was the pivot of a broader political economy strategy followed in the 1970s—a decade when economic growth barely outpaced population growth and average incomes stagnated. It was a lost decade for India. There is no doubt that exogenous shocks, such as rising energy prices or failed monsoons, played a part in the stagnation, but economic policy also hurt. Bank nationalization succeeded in specific areas such as financial deepening because of the rapid spread of branches, but it now needs a rethink.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3. What is food poverty? Critically examine the measures taken by the government to address food poverty in India. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Nearly 6% of individuals in India aged 45 and above studied consumed smaller portions or skipped meals; 5.3% did not eat even when they were hungry.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about food poverty and examine the measures taken to address it.

Directive word: 

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. 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: 

Define food poverty.

Body:

First discuss on the situation of food poverty in India and then move on to elaborate on the various schemes and initiatives brought in by the government to address this issue such as Mid-day Meal Programme, ICDS, Kishori Shakti Yojana, Nutrition programme for Adolescent Girls and Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana, National food security Act etc.

Analyse these initiatives against the current rates of Hunger, nutrition-linked poverty in India. Cite data from NFHS-5 to substantiate your points.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning a way forward on the approach to address the issue and its implication of achieving SDG-2.

Introduction

Food poverty is commonly defined as ‘the inability to acquire or consume an adequate or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so’. It can have a detrimental impact on physical and psychological wellbeing so it’s important for a person to have access to and the choice of an affordable, acceptable and healthy diet throughout their life.

Body

Situation of food poverty in India:

  • Nearly 6 per cent of older individuals in India aged 45 years and above studied consumed smaller portions or skipped meals; 3 per cent did not eat even when they were hungry; and 3.8 per cent went a full day without eating because the food was unavailable, according to a study by Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI).
  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5) indicates that since the onset of the pandemic, acute undernourishment in children below the age of five has worsened, with one in every three children below the age of five suffering from chronic malnourishment.
  • According to data collected by the Global Nutrition Report, 9 per cent of children under five are stunted, and 20.8 per cent are wasted, a form of malnutrition where children are too thin for their height.
  • This is much higher than in other developing countries, where on an average 25 per cent of children suffer stunting and 8.9 per cent are wasted.
  • In women between the ages of 15 to 49 years, anaemia continues to affect nearly 52 per cent of the target group.

Measures taken by the government to address food poverty in India:

Evaluation of the measures:

  • The National Food Security Act has to tackle many ground level problems to ensure food security. There are critical gaps in terms of inclusion and exclusion errors. Women and girls are particularly disadvantaged.
  • The provision under the NFSA to diversify commodities distributed under TPDS has not been met due to procurement-related issues.
  • The PDS ensures that Indians have enough calories to survive, but it does not ensure the dietary diversity that is necessary for the maintenance of a healthy life.
  • Corruption has encroached every scheme. Sufficient food grain is not reaching the final consumer. Many a times, beneficiaries got lesser food grain as was estimated in the provision. Many a times, quality of food grain was not as good as the requirement. The godown authorities sold the food grains in black market.
  • Various scams are also found in the Midday Meal Scheme as about 22 children died after  they  took  the  poisoned  midday  meal in one such incident.  Many  schools  show  bogus  register  of students’ enrolment to save food material for selling it in the black market.
  • Despite the achievement of national food self-sufficiency, new challenges have emerged: Slowing agriculture growth, climate change, land degradation and shrinking bio-diversity.

Way forward

  • Food assistance programmes should be provided to the elderly as a food safety net to combat the adverse nutritional and health status and provide healthcare cost saving for the nation.
  • Food-insecure people should be given special attention because their nutritional and health state is worse than that of the average elderly.
  • The ‘one nation one ration card’ scheme should be operationalised through the proper issuance of ration cards to individuals seeking foodgrain so that the PDS can be accessed at any geographical location in the country.
  • The solution to India’s food security problem requires a system-based approach based on greater convergence between stakeholders, decentralisation in its true spirit, and better data systems to drive quicker learning and course-corrections.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Investment models.

4. Enumerate the recent structural reforms taken to alleviate the problems of the telecom sector in India. Is 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) through automatic route in the telecom sector a step in the right direction? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintThe Hindu

Why the question:

The Cabinet approved several measures to extend a lifeline to the cash-strapped telecom sector.

Key Demand of the question:

To list the reforms in telecom sector and to determine if 100% FDI via automatic route is prudent policy decision.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of reforms announced to revitalise the telecom sector.

Body:

Write the major steps by the government to ease telecom sector woes such as redefinition of the much-litigated concept of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), to exclude non-telecom revenue and a four-year moratorium on players’ dues to the government etc.

Next, write about pros and cons of allowing 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) through automatic route.

Conclusion:

Comment on the need to ensure a level playing filed and promote healthy competition in the aftermath of 100% FDI via automatic route.

Introduction

The telecom reforms announced by government are beginning of a new era for sector as well as for boosting investment in the industry that is reeling under debt burden. The Centre announced a slew of financial relaxations, with sectoral liberalization and procedural easing thrown in, and declared a moratorium on AGR dues.

Body

Recent structural reforms taken to alleviate the problems of the telecom sector

  • Rationalization of Adjusted Gross Revenue: Non-telecom revenue will be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR.
  • Stay on AGR dues payment: The earlier definition of AGR, backed by the Telecom Department and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2019, had made telcos liable to pay Rs. 1.6 lakh crore.
    • This payment has cash-strapped the telecom sector, which led to the losses of business to telecom companies like Vodafone and established a duopoly (reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel).
    • In order to revive the telecom sector, a four-year moratorium on all spectrum and AGR dues has been approved
    • Option to the TSPs to pay the interest amount arising due to the said deferment of payment by way of equity.
  • Bank Guarantees (BGs) rationalized: Huge reduction in BG requirements (80%) against License Fee (LF) and other similar Levies. No requirements for multiple BGs in different Licenced Service Areas (LSAs) regions in the country. Instead, One BG will be enough.
  • Interest rates rationalized/ Penalties removed: From 1st October, 2021, Delayed payments of License Fee (LF)/Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) will attract interest rate of SBI’s MCLR plus 2% instead of MCLR plus 4%; interest compounded annually instead of monthly; penalty and interest on penalty removed.
  • Spectrum Tenure: In future Auctions, tenure of spectrum increased from 20 to 30 years.
    • Surrender of spectrum will be permitted after 10 years for spectrum acquired in the future auctions.
    • No Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) for spectrum acquired in future spectrum auctions.
    • Spectrum sharing encouraged- additional SUC of 0.5% for spectrum sharing removed.
  • FDI: To encourage investment, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) under automatic route permitted in Telecom Sector.

Procedural Reforms

  • Auction calendar fixed – Spectrum auctions to be normally held in the last quarter of every financial year.
  • Ease of doing business promoted – The cumbersome requirement of licenses under 1953 Customs Notification for wireless equipment removed. Replaced with self-declaration.
  • Know Your Customers (KYC) reforms: Self-KYC (App based) permitted. E-KYC rate revised to only One Rupee. Shifting from Prepaid to Post-paid and vice-versa will not require fresh KYC.
  • Paper Customer Acquisition Forms (CAF) will be replaced by digital storage of data. Nearly 300-400 crore paper CAFs lying in various warehouses of TSPs will not be required. Warehouse audit of CAF will not be required.
  • SACFA clearance for telecom towers eased. DOT will accept data on a portal based on self-declaration basis. Portals of other Agencies (such as Civil Aviation) will be linked with DOT Portal.

FDI through automatic route: Step in the right direction?

Till now, only 49% of FDI was allowed through the automatic route and anything beyond this had to necessarily go through the government route.

Pros

  • It will encourage investment in the country and push India’s rankings on the innovation index.
  • Healthy competition amongst operators and a stable environment will allow customers to opt for differentiated experiences and taste innovations from around the world.
  • The ailing Indian telecommunications industry’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow in H1FY21 plunged sharply by 99.8% to Rs 50 crore ($7 million) during April-September 2020 quarter from Rs 14,899 crore ($2,178 million) a year ago in the same quarter.
  • Post-pandemic uptick in the FDI inflows is required to revive the industry. This move can ease the credit flow into telecom industry.

Cons

  • The stakes of Indian companies in telecom sector can now be bought by foreign giants.
  • Indian telecom companies may find it difficult to compete with foreign players who can infuse large credit from various business sources.
  • As telecommunication is an integral part of national security, 100% FDI and foreign dominance can become threat to security and establishing secure channels of communications.
  • Procurement of equipments needs to be monitored thoroughly as big companies can subvert rules and bring in Chinese equipments.

Despite the cons, 100% FDI can transform the ailing telecom sector with necessary safeguards as announced by the government.

Conclusion

Thus, with the reform measures, the government aims to boost the proliferation and penetration of broadband and telecom connectivity in the country. Apart from this the government is looking to boost 4G proliferation, infuse liquidity and create an enabling environment for investment in 5G networks with the new set of reform measures.

 

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. Explain the challenges in enforcing Intellectual property rights (IPR) in India. A review of National IPR Policy, 2016 should be undertaken in the wake of new and emerging trends in spheres of innovation, which requires concrete mechanisms to protect them. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: New Indian Express

Why the question:

Intellectual property rights law and competition law have been treated as conflicting in nature as their goals seem to be at loggerheads with one another.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the challenges in enforcing IPR regime in India and to suggest changes to IPR policy in the light of recent developments.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start the answer by giving an overview of IPR regime in India. Give stats with respect to applied ansd approved IPR’s.

Body:

In the first part, give brief overview of National IPR Policy, 2016 and mention the challenges in enforcing Intellectual property rights (IPR) in India – procedural and substantive constraints, legal aspects, conflict with competition law, low awareness, counterfeiting and piracy, IP Financing, etc.

Mention IPR regime has gained further significance in light of the Government’s focus on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and Covid-19 pandemic.

Next write about changes to National IPR Policy, 2016 such as elaborating more on expanding innovation ecosystem of the country, organization of awareness drives on IPR, comprehensive advisories on increasing R&D activities, encouraging IP financing and involvement of State Governments in evolving a robust IPR regime.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the benefits of a robust IPR regime.

Introduction

India, as a member of the World Trade Organization and signatory to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is obliged to align its intellectual property rights laws with the TRIPS agreement. The challenge comes not only from creating the laws but also their implementation considering the Indian government has to strike a balance between the needs of the country’s citizens and the rights of patent holders.

Body

Overview of IPR and patents in India

  • The issue of IP enforcement has become all the more sensitive considering a bulk of patent applications in India are filed by foreign companies.
  • As an example, the data provided by the Indian IP office in its annual report of 2017-2018 shows the applications filed by foreign applicants were more than double (32,304) compared to those by Indian residents (15,550).
  • The International IP Index 2017 released by the US Chamber of Commerce, compares India’s intellectual property environment with that of 44 other world economies. The index ranked India at a dismal 43rd position out of 45 countries.
  • This shows that challenges to innovation continue to exist in India and, therefore, the government needs to build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need.

Challenges in enforcing IPR in India

  • Priority Watch List: Special 301 Report issued by the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has India on the “priority watch list”.
    • The report mentions “Over the past year, India took steps to address intellectual property (IP) challenges and promote IP protection and enforcement. However, many of the actions have not yet translated into concrete benefits for innovators and creators, and long-standing deficiencies persist”.
    • India remains one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP.
  • Compulsory licensing:
  • Higher level of scrutiny: Apart from the global patentability requirements for inventions to have novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability, the Indian patent act has specific provisions, covered under Section 3, that makes the patentability of an invention relating to subject matter such as
    • derivatives of a pharmaceutical drug;
    • patentability of stem cells;
    • diagnostic methods and kits

As a result, these inventions face a higher threshold of examination and scrutiny.

  • Section 3(k) bars patentability of computer programs per se or algorithms. This objection exists as default for all computer-related inventions.
  • Section 3(d) restricts patentability of derivative/s of a pharmaceutical compound. A derivative has to show significant difference in therapeutic efficacy with respect to the parent compound for overcoming the barrier of Section 3(d).
  • Backlog and time for final decision: The basic challenge in the enforcement of patent rights is the time it takes for the court to make a final decision. A patent lawsuit ordinarily takes approximately five to seven years to be finally decided after trial, if contested by the other party.
  • Compulsory licensing: It is problematic for foreign investors who bring technology as they are concerned about the misuse of CL to replicate their products. It has been impacting India-EU FTA negotiations.
  • Combatting piracy and counterfeit products: India is key exporter of counterfeit fake products such as foodstuffs, textiles, shoes, electronics etc. Enforcement of the Copyright act is weak, and piracy of copyrighted materials is widespread.

Review of National IPR policy

  • Fostering an environment where innovation flourishes and a knowledge economy is built, is the key idea. Hence, the policy should have a balance.
  • It should encourage patenting and at the same time ensure that patentability of a product/process does not deter further innovation and progress.
  • Intellectual Property must not be about patent on paper but dearth of application in reality.
  • The organisations such as CSIR and others must be encouraged to work upon socially useful applications of their patents.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public and for its traditional industries to enable fair monetisation of IP Rights.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.
  • Success of India’s flagship programmes – Make in India and Start up India – depends on the boost of innovation ecosystem with better IPR safeguardings.

Conclusion

Beliefs, attitudes and approaches towards IPRs in India must change for the sake of the ambitions articulated in this government’s many initiatives—from Make in India to Startup India and Smart Cities. Indian policymakers do not adequately appreciate the fundamental reality that IP laws and policies are meant to incentivize innovation by establishing enforceable boundaries to protect new products, processes, and original works of expression. Adequate safeguards though necessary should not cripple innovation or new technology that can come to India and benefit the larger public.

Value addition

National IPR Policy

A comprehensive National IPR policy was adopted in May 2016, to stimulate innovation and creativity across sectors, and provide a clear vision regarding IPR issues. Objectives enshrined in the policy are hereunder:

  • IPR Awareness – Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society;  Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs;
  • Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights’ owners with larger public interest
  • Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration;
  • Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization; 6  Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements; and
  • Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. Romanticisation of poverty displays lack of compassion towards weaker sections and in the long run, harms the poor instead of helping them. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how romanticisation of poverty by media and in real life is ineffective as well as shows lack of empathy towards the poor.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by describing romanticisation of poverty.

Body:

In the first part further elaborate with examples how romanticisation of poverty happens. Also add bottom of pyramid approach some companies adopt.

In the next part, substantiate how Romanticisation of poverty does not help the poor but actually harms them. Affecting poverty alleviation programmes directly and indirectly, overemphasis on modern credit, displaying lack of sensitivity towards poor and their issues and complete disregard of ground realities.

Conclusion:

Stress upon the importance of taking an empathetic approach towards poverty alleviation.

Introduction

There is a deep romanticization of struggle that has found acceptance and normalization, so much so that the privileged found it to almost be a trend to follow by listing out what they deem to be their struggles. There is an abundance of stories, films or documentaries which present to the viewer the person who has fought all odds to become successful, the one who works hard relentlessly, the diamond in the rough.

This struggle and suffering is romanticized even more for the poor as this narrative is made to be one size fits all, it becomes a test to which the poor would have to take and pass with flying colours to be considered worthy.

Body

Romanticizing the poor not only does not help them, it actually harms them

  • Market solutions to poverty are very much in vogue. These solutions, which include services and products targeting consumers at the “bottom of the pyramid,” portray poor people as creative entrepreneurs and discerning consumers.
    • Yet this rosy view of poverty-stricken people is not only wrong, but also harmful.
    • It allows corporations, governments, and non-profits to deny this vulnerable population the protections it needs.
    • Romanticizing the poor also hobbles realistic interventions for alleviating poverty.
  • It results in too little emphasis on legal, regulatory, and social mechanisms to protect the poor who are vulnerable consumers.
  • Next, it results in overemphasis on micro-credit and under-emphasis on fostering modern enterprises that would provide employment opportunities for the poor.
  • The rags to riches stories that make rounds are one in a thousand phenomenon. This can lead to unrealistic expectations from the deprived sections, sometimes leading to grave psychological distress.
  • Media highlights the troubles of poor as a great story of resilience. For example, the news around “the 15-year-old girl from Bihar” who cycled from Gurgaon to Darbhanga along with her injured father is a case in point.
    • Jyoti Kumari, who covered the distance of over 1200 km in 7 days during lockdown was applauded for her bravery and skill all over social media, including a tweet by Ivanka Trump who called the situation a “beautiful feat of endurance & love.”
    • This situation leaves a lot to unpack for us, concerning the issue of romanticisation of poverty, struggle, endurance and agency.
  • Politicians exploit poverty of people, romanticize the issue and convert the poor into their vote bank, ultimately forgetting about them for the next five years.
  • Romanticising poverty is appealing since it implies the poor can cope on their own.
    • A growing and trendy segment of tourism offers: Guided tours of slum in Mumbai, or observe street children live in and around Delhi’s main railway station.
  • ‘Poortainment’: Fashion magazine Vogue India featured a 16-page spread of poor Indians wearing super expensive accessories by designers such as Fendi, Burberry, and Marc Jacobs. Entertainment and poverty have come together: ‘Poortainment.

Conclusion

The gap between the rich and the poor is getting ever wider. The media brings the poor into our living room every day highlighting their plight as greatness or story of resiliency. The solution is to put poverty in a zoo, and sanitise it, even romanticise it. Then one can photograph the poor, film poverty, and even visit the poor. This phenomenon must stop and legitimate actions for poverty alleviation must be taken.

 

Topic: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity;

7. The government, the corporate world and civil society – all must uphold high standards of probity in their working to achieve our collective aspirations. Discuss the importance of probity in the public sphere. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining what is Probity.

Body:

Argue on the lines that for a moral society, it is necessary for all the stakeholders- the government, the corporate and the civil society must express the highest levels of probity in public life. Congruence and alignment of morality among the stakeholders is a major prerequisite to ensure a harmonious and ethic al existence of all the players promoting a just society. Illustrate the same with suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that Probity is one of the main pillars for a just society.

Introduction

Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals.

Body

Importance of Probity in Public Sphere:

  • Integrity and probity in public life are the standards that society expects those elected or appointed to public office to observe and maintain in the conduct of the public affairs to which they have been entrusted.
  • These standards are what safeguard the nation from corruption by politicians and public officials who have been given almost unrestricted access to public resources together with the power to take decisions that impact on the lives of everyone and the nation as a whole.
  • The absence of integrity and probity in public life is manifested in corruption which is a worldwide phenomenon.
  • But its impact is strongest and most pervasive in small states that already suffer from all the known disadvantages that characterise smallness such as unfavourable economies of scale, high per capita cost of government, remoteness, and distance from large markets and centres of large populations among others.
  • In addition to all these, small States also tend to suffer from ineffective parliamentary oversight, weak and undeveloped systems of checks and balances like a strong and independent media as well as civil society groups with the capacity to investigate, challenge and call to account those in positions of power.
  • Leaders who are corrupt will exploit these weaknesses to the fullest to enrich themselves and those closest to them at the expense of the country.
  • In societies where a blind eye is turned to corruption elements in the private sector give bribes to those exercising power in order to curry favour.
  • The giving and taking of bribes leads not only to personal enrichment but also to wrong decision-making with consequential misallocation of national resources into high profile “political” projects that will attract votes at the expense of less spectacular but economically and socially more useful ones.

Conclusion

Integrity and probity in public life demand that those elected or appointed to public office are themselves imbued with a sense of responsibility to the society that puts them there; that the decisions they take should always be solely in terms of the public interest and not to gain benefits for themselves, family, friends or associates; that they act with honesty and integrity by not allowing their private interests to conflict with their public responsibilities; and that the behaviour must always be able to stand up to the closest public scrutiny. Similarly, civil society and institutions have a crucial role to play by calling to account those who will flout the rules and by refusing to tolerate any but the highest standard of behaviour in those who they elect or appoint to serve the public interest.

Value addition

Concept of Probity

  • Probity is confirmed integrity. It is usually regarded as being incorruptible.
  • It is the quality of having strong moral principles and strictly following them, such as honesty, uprightness, transparency and incorruptibility.
  • Probity in Governance is concerned with the propriety and character of various organs of the government as to whether these uphold the procedural uprightness, regardless of the individuals manning these institutions.
  • It involves adopting an ethical and transparent approach, allowing the process to withstand scrutiny.
  • Probity goes further than the avoidance of being dishonest because it is determined by intangibles like personal and societal values.
  • Probity has been described as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity.
  • It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. The principles of probity, ethics and good governance operate on many levels – from, the individual, to the organization and on to the ‘watch-dog’.

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