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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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. What were the causes that led to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Explain as to why India got involved in the war to liberate Bangladesh? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

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 the causes for Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and to explain as to why India got involved in the war.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of the conflict between east and west Pakistan.

Body:

In the first part, write about the reasons for the outbreak of the war. Ethnic clashes, Economic disparities, Political asymmetry, Language issue and the immediate cause etc.

Next, write about the reasons for India’s involved in the war – opportunity of the century, countering Pakistan, Bengali movement for autonomy and shared heritage, refugee crisis, security threats etc.

Conclusion:

Link the outcome to present day and Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of its Liberation movement.

Introduction

Pakistan was made of West and East Pakistan after August 14,1947. The eastern province gained its independence in March 1971 and Bangladesh was born. Bangladesh’s independence has been considered India’s most successful neighbourhood intervention.

Body:

The causes that led to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971

  • Economic Prowess of East Pakistan:
    • Most of the foreign exchange was earned by exports from East Pakistan which was poorly defended when the big war of 1965 with India was fought.
  • Disparity of Governance:
    • Punjab and the Punjabi-dominated army ruled Pakistan soon after the birth of Pakistan.
    • The services were also dominated by Punjabis through quotas but East Pakistan dominated in literacy and high education.
    • Top seats in the civil services exams always went to East Pakistan.
  • Military Rule:
    • General Ayub Khan took over Pakistan in 1958, the East Pakistan’s needs and demands were completely suppressed.
    • Until 1962, martial law continued and Ayub purged a number of politicians and civil servants from the government and replaced them with army officers.
  • Distance factor:
    • Pakistan couldn’t tackle the strange phenomenon of being divided by a thousand miles of India.
  • Six-Point Program discarded:
    • The six point program of Mujib-Ur-Rahman in 1966 for economic and political autonomy of East Pakistan was discarded.
  • Imposition of Urdu:
    • Urdu was made the “National Language” of Pakistan. The requests from East Pakistan and option of Arabic were turned down.
  • Genocides and Refugee Problems:
    • There was a systematic ethnic slaughter which qualified as genocide. There was clear ethnic or religious targeting of the Hindu minority among the Bengalis.
    • By July-August 1971, 90% of the refugees were Hindus concentrated in the border districts of West Bengal with large Muslim populations.
    • The Response of West Pakistan to 1970 cyclone which ravaged East Pakistan was minimal and lacked compassion.
  • Immediate Cause:
    • The Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections in 1971 and demanded autonomy for East Pakistan.
    • This victory also gave it the right to form a government, but Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party refused to let the Sheikh become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This initiated the war.

India was compelled to intervene in the Bangladesh War of 1971 due to various strategic, domestic, economic and humanitarian factors.

  • Strategic:
    • Having a hostile West Pakistan and East Pakistan on both sides of its borders was a strategic concern for India.
    • This was compounded by the strain in Sino-Indian relations which culminated in the war of 1962.
    • Unprovoked military aggression by Pakistan on the North-West India in 1972 needed to be responded in a stringent manner.
    • Therefore, the intervention in 1971 was necessary to safeguard the long term strategic interests.
  • Domestic:
    • The constant influx of migrants from East Pakistan was creating various problems in the Border States.
    • The resources were limited and there was constant struggle between locals and refugees over the use of these resources.
    • Besides there were various other ethnic and social problems due to this inflow of migrants.
  • Economic:
    • The country was spending huge resources to absorb these refugees.
    • Being a closed economy, India was not in a position to continue spending resources for long and hence a long term solution to the problem was needed.
    • Beside, having a hostile East Pakistan was hindering the development of north-eastern part of the country due to limited connectivity.
  • Humanitarian:
    • Lastly the atrocities committed on the people of East Pakistan forced India to intervene in the conflict on humanitarian ground to prevent a large scale crisis.

Conclusion

India played the great role in emergence of independent Bangladesh and was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as separate state. India’s humanitarian intervention in Bangladesh has shaped South Asia, made it a responsible power in the region. India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. The shared colonial legacy, history and socio-cultural bonds demand that the political leadership of the two countries inject momentum into India-Bangladesh relations.

Value addition

India’s role in liberation of Bangladesh:

  • Indian government allowed Awami league leaders to form government in exile
  • Gave military training to Mukti Bahini Sena on Indian soil.
  • Provided food, shelter, clothing and medical aid to refugees in spite of tremendous strain on their resources.
  • In December 1971, Indian armed forces directly undertook the operation for liberation of Bangladesh which led to Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.
  • India observed international refugee law and allowed refugees regardless of religion or language. It internationalised their tragedy.

 

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

2. Even though the concept of Total Revolution lies deeply embedded in Gandhian teachings, was Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution a utopian ideal? Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Chapter – 18 – 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 the concept of total revolution and to examine if the revolution was an utopian ideal.

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:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution.

Body:

In the first part, explain the concept and various components of Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution, its various components and link it with Gandhian teachings.

Next, examine the outcomes of the revolution. Its successes and the limitations on the basis of the above stated objectives.

Conclusion:

Comment as to whether or not the revolution was utopian in nature or a practical movement.

Introduction

Total Revolution, as a concept, was put forward by Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) in the wake of Bihar Movement in Patna. It is a combination of seven revolutions, viz., political, social, economic, cultural, ideological or intellectual, educational and spiritual. The main motive was to bring in a change in the existing society that is in tune with the ideals of the Sarvodaya. It was aimed to solve the urgent problems of the country and usher in a new society.

Body

The concept of Total Revolution lies deeply embedded in Gandhian teachings

  • Jayaprakash Narayan, the leader of Total Revolution turned to Gandhian teachings as a result of his disillusionment with what might be called “conventional wisdom of revolution and conventional technique” of change.
  • Infact, Total Revolution is a further extension of Gandhi’s thought on socio-economic problems and technique of change in the context of contemporary social, economic and political reality.
  • Jayaprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution is a grand vision of individual, state and society.
  • It is based upon Gandhi’s basic postulates and it envisages non-violent methods of changing society with non-violent techniques.
  • Total Revolution is an all-enveloping process of change in the individual as well as in the society.
  • The primary emphasis is on moral values, decentralisation of economic and political power and insistence on non-violent means to achieve good ends.
  • Social change in the Gandhian paradigm is a very comprehensive and inclusive term.
  • According to Gandhi, a partial change in any one component of the social matrix is likely to produce disequilibrium in society. Society, therefore, will tend to move towards a state of constant instability.
  • In order to ensure that the social organisation maintains a steady and dynamic homeostatic state, an all-round change is needed.

Total revolution: a utopian ideal ?

  • Ghanshyam Shah  rightly  said,  “JP  gave  no  blue-print  of  alternative  society  nor outlined  the  various  stages  of  the      Instead  he  gave  a  long  list  of  proposals; agricultural  development,  equitable  land-ownership,  appropriate  technology,  rural  and  small industries,  political  and  economic  decentralization,  no  caste  etc.    He  did  not  spell  out  how the  land  was  to  be  so  distributed,  nor  how  the  social  and  economic  hierarchy  was  to  be abolished.”
  • JP is  criticised  on  the  ground  that  he  “had  no  ideology,  a  blue-print  for  a  new economic  and  political  order  which  he  had  outlined  in  considerable  detail  much  before  the Bihar  agitation  was  even  conceived  of”.
  • K. Barik, another  critic  of  JP,  supports  the contention  that  JP  had  no  ideology,  by  citing  JP’s  view  as  reported  in  the  Calcutta  daily, Statesman  of  16th  June  1974.
  • JP’s reasoned rejection of parliamentary democracy and his outline of a new Sarvodaya order may definitely be said to constitute an ideology.
  • JP failed to achieve his revolution and that political parties continued to rule where the people should have stepped in, is a different story.

Conclusion

JP strongly believed that for democracy to be a lively and effective instrument there is an urgent need for a strong opposition, powerful public opinion, free and fearless press, ideological and moral pressure from the academicians, and trade unions. He, in fact, advised the people to revise their thinking and attitude towards democratic functioning in India.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. The data governance proposals of India must be evaluated from a gender lens to further ease the usage of Internet and Social Media for women. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The new data governance laws are under discussion. Given the various challenges faced by women in usage of Internet & Social media in India, There is a need to look at the laws from the gender perspective.

Key Demand of the question:

To discuss about how and why the data governance laws in India must be gender sensitive.

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: 

Start your answer by talking about how India is moving towards an increasingly digital society. Thus, there is a need for the privacy and data governance laws which impact women’s safety and agency on the internet to be gender sensitive.

Body:  

In the first part, briefly highlight the challenges faced by women in usage of Internet and social media in India. You can substantiate your answer by giving statistics from NFHS-5, etc.

Now, talk about how the clauses in various data governance laws such as Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 should be protective of women’s privacy and agency to use internet.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to make the data governance laws of India gender sensitive.

Introduction

The rise of big data and machine learning has caused an immense growth in powerful technologies and applications. The algorithms behind these technologies amass a huge amount of data from individuals, which is then used (or sold to other firms) to target, persuade, reward, or penalise users.

While privacy issues have been extensively debated, a discussion on how data governance laws might impact women differently than men and affect their agency on the internet has been mostly missing. This is on top of issue of women’s access to internet and social media.

Body

Challenges faced by women in usage of Internet and social media in India

  • Mobile ownership: According to a 2017 survey, women use social media (such as Facebook and Instagram) significantly more than men. At the same time, there appears to be a huge disparity in mobile ownership.
  • Regional disparity: The National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) indicates significant diversity between states and union territories (UTs) in terms of the percentage of women having a mobile phone, with figures ranging from 49% in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh to 91% in Goa.
  • Women also face a higher risk of reputational loss online.
  • Issue of cyber-crime and women: Between 2017 and 2018, cases of cyberstalking or bullying of women or children increased by 36% while the conviction rate fell from 40% to 25%. Such issues can negatively affect the mental health of victims resulting from humiliation, diminishing self-esteem, and social isolation.
  • These incidents also lead to a perception of the internet as an unsafe place for women.

Need for data governance proposals of India must be evaluated from a gender lens

Given the above sensitivities around women’s data and its impact on their ability to use the internet, India’s various data governance proposals that are under discussion currently must be evaluated from a gender lens.

  • For example, the proposed Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019 imposes a blanket requirement for parental consent for processing the personal data of anyone below the age of 18 years.
    • This effectively gives parents control over teens’ access to any internet platform.
    • While protection of minors’ data is indeed important, a blanket requirement such as this coupled with the shared usage of mobile phones, may compromise the agency of teenage girls far more than boys, as families exert control over their usage.
  • Data and Artificial intelligence: If there is underlying bias the data sets, this can be against women’s interests.
    • For example, if an algorithm is trained on outcomes that are unfavourable for women, it will replicate the same in its predictions.
    • Second, if women are underrepresented in the training dataset (very likely due to the existing digital divide), then it will result in products that aren’t designed for women, furthering the digital divide over time.
  • Privacy concerns and implications of breach: The risks of identification by piecing together different sets of non-personal data are far higher for women than men.
    • For example, non-personal data from women’s health apps, when pieced together with shopping data, may risk revealing their identities and their reproductive health issues.

Conclusion

As India moves towards an increasingly digital society, how privacy and data governance laws may impact women’s safety and agency on the internet should not come as an afterthought. We need to have these discussions front and centre as these regulations can be a key building block to women’s agency on the internet and their participation in the economy of the future. We risk deepening the existing chasms in an increasingly digital world, if we do not get this right.

Value-addition

Data Protection Bill

  • Data principal: As per the bill, it is the individual whose data is being stored and processed.
  • Exemptions: The government is qualified to order any data fiduciary to acquire personal and non-personal/anonymised data for the sake of research and for national security and criminal investigations.
  • Social media companies, which are deemed significant data fiduciaries based on factors such as volume and sensitivity of data as well as their turnover, should develop their own user verification mechanism.
  • An independent regulator, Data Protection Agency (DPA) will oversee assessments and audits and definition making.
  • Each company will have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who will liaison with the DPA for auditing, grievance redressal, recording maintenance and more.
  • The bill also grants individuals the right to data portability, and the ability to access and transfer one’s own data.
  • The right to be forgotten: This right allows an individual to remove consent for data collection and disclosure.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4. Although E-Shram is a vital system to provide hitherto invisible workers much-needed visibility, it is fraught with impediments which can hinder the welfare measures. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment recently launched a national database to register unorganised workers, called the e-Shram portal.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss about the challenges/issues being faced by e-Shram and the possible impacts.

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: 

Begin by writing about the e-Shram portal and briefly mention the potential benefits for the unorganised workers by registering themselves on the portal – health, DBT, ration etc.

Body:

Discuss the various challenges or impediments being faced in the e-Shram portal.

Talk about the data security issues, eligibility issues, how it is a long process, complex identity issues, dependence on state governments etc.

Provide suitable measures.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The government aims to register 38 crore unorganised workers, such as construction labourers, migrant workforce, street vendors and domestic workers, among others. The workers will be issued an e-Shram card containing a 12 digit unique number, which, going ahead, will help in including them in social security schemes

Body

Advantages and benefits of E-shram

  • Welfare of workers: The number of unorganised workers is expected to have increased due to the pandemic-infused economic burdens. Hence portal will help workers get their due benefits.
  • Accidental Coverage: Each individual registering at the portal is eligible for an accidental cover of Rs 2 lakh for a year which is provided yearly under the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).
  • Integrated platform: The portal seeks to integrate all the social welfare schemes available for the benefit of unorganised workers.
  • Beneficial for Inter-state Migrants: The portal helps the inter-state migrant workers avail the benefit of the welfare schemes regardless of their location.
  • Social Security: The unorganised workers will be able to receive social security benefits such as insurance coverage, maternity benefits, pensions, educational benefits, provident fund benefits, housing schemes etc.

Impediments in e-Shram that can hinder welfare schemes

  • Digital divide: The Centre of Indian Trade Unions has said that arrangements for off-line registration are needed, given that all workers may not be able to access the online portal.
    • Even those who may have a smartphone through which they can access the portal might not be digitally literate enough to adequately navigate and understand how the portal works.
    • In such a scenario, providing an online-only registration process would mean that many unorganised workers would not be able to register on the portal.
  • Data protection: One of the vital concerns of e-portals is data security, including its potential abuse especially when it is a mega-sized database.
    • The central government would have to share data with State governments whose data security capacities vary.
    • There are also media reports pointing out the absence of a national architecture relating to data security.
  • Aadhar compulsion: The Working People’s Charter said that imposing the condition of Aadhaar would exclude workers without Aadhaar cards from the process.
    • Aadhaar-seeding is a controversial issue with political overtones, especially in the North-eastern regions.
  • Change in mobile: Many workers have to change mobile numbers frequently, and so they may not always be able to access the Aadhaar-linked mobile.
  • Registration exclusion: By excluding workers covered by EPF and ESI, lakhs of contract and fixed-term contract workers will be excluded from the universe of UW.
    • Under the Social Security Code (SSC), hazardous establishments employing even a single worker will have to be covered under the ESI, which means these workers also will be excluded.
    • The NDUW excludes millions of workers aged over 59 from its ambit, which constitutes age discrimination.
    • Given the frugal or no social security for them, their exclusion will hurt their welfare.
  • Exploitation of workers: There is also the concern of corruption as middle-service agencies such as Internet providers might charge exorbitant charges to register and print the E-Shram cards.

Way forward

  • Multistake holder collaboration: The success of the project depends on the involvement of a variety of stakeholders apart from trade unions, massive and innovative dissemination exercises involving multiple media outlets of various languages, the holding of camps on demand by the stakeholders and on their own by the Government, efficiency of the resolution of grievance redress mechanisms, micro-level operations, etc.
  • The involvement of surveillance agencies is crucial, to prevent worker exploitation.
  • Performance monitoring: More importantly, the Government must publish statistics at the national and the regional levels of the registrations to assess the registration system’s efficiency.

Conclusion

E-Shram is a vital system to provide hitherto invisible workers much-needed visibility. It will provide the Labour Market Citizenship Document to them. There must be triple linkage for efficient and leakage-less delivery of all kinds of benefits and voices to workers/citizens, viz. One-Nation-One-Ration Card (ONOR), E-Shram Card (especially bank account seeded) and the Election Commission Card. Last but not least, registrations cannot be a source of exclusion of a person from receiving social assistance and benefits.

Value addition

E-Shram portal: Features

  • On August 26, 2021, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) launched the E-Shram, the web portal for creating a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), which will be seeded with Aadhaar.
  • It seeks to register an estimated 398-400 million unorganised workers and to issue an E-Shram card.
  • Delivery of benefits: The portal will not only register them but would also be helpful in delivering of various social security schemes being implemented by the central and state governments.
  • Maintaining a database of workers in unorganized sector: In India, 38.2% of the population is employed, shows the recently-released Periodic Labour Force Survey Annual Report 2019-’20. And, the unorganised sector represents 81% of the workforce, according to the ministry’s annual report.
    • A large number of unorganised workers are home-based and are engaged in occupations such as beedi rolling, agarbatti making, papad making, tailoring, embroidery work, workers who are working or engaged as street vendors, head loaders, brick kiln workers, cobblers, rag pickers, domestic workers, washermen, rickshaw pullers, landless labourers etc.
  • Portable: This system is also aimed at helping migrant workers by making the benefits they are entitled to more “portable”.
    • The access to schemes for interstate migrant workers ranges from 5% to 27.5% which means the lowest level of access is 0.5% of migrant workers and highest is 27.5%
    • Portal will remove this discrepancy.

Current scenario

  • The registration of workers on the portal will be coordinated by the Labour Ministry, state governments, trade unions and CSCs.
  • A worker can register on the portal using his/her Aadhaar card number and bank account details, apart from filling other necessary details like date of birth, home town, mobile number and social category.
  • The initial benefits of registration include insurance coverage of Rs. 1 lakh in case of partial disability and Rs. 2 lakh in case of permanent disability or death.
  • As of 7th September 2021, more than 20.2. lakh workers have been registered on the portal.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Government Budgeting.

5. Enumerate the steps taken so far to expedite and enable resolution of NPAs in India. Critically analyse the potential of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) as the “Bad Bank” in addressing the issue of NPAs. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to provide ₹30,600 crore government guarantee for security receipts issued by the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) as part of resolution of bad loans.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the attempts at resolving NPA problem and to analyse the potential of proposed bad bank in resolving the crisis.

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: 

Begin the answer by giving the extent of NPA crisis in India which is expected to exacerbate due to the impact of the pandemic.

Body:

In the first part mention the various steps taken by the government as well as the RBI to address the NPA issue. Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), various asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) under Securities and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) act, Debts Recovery Tribunals etc.

Next, write about of National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) as the “Bad Bank”. Its objectives and functions. Mention how the bad bank will help with the problem of NPA. Also, write about limitations of the proposed bad bank.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward to address the issue of NPA in India

Introduction

Paving the way for a major clean-up of bad loans in the banking system, the Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a ₹30,600-crore guarantee programme for securities to be issued by the newly incorporated ‘bad bank’ for taking over and resolving non-performing assets (NPAs) amounting to ₹2 lakh crore.

The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of granting a licence for the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL), following which toxic assets worth ₹90,000 crore that banks have already fully provided for, will move to the NARCL.

Body

Overview on Non-Performing Assets

  • A nonperforming asset (NPA) refers to a classification for loans or advances that are in default or in arrears. A loan is in arrears when principal or interest payments are late or missed.
  • In most cases, debt is classified as nonperforming when loan payments have not been made for a period of 90 days.
  • Scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) were carrying NPAs worth Rs 8.96 lakh crore on their balance sheet at the end of March 2020.
  • Non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans of banks have declined by Rs 61,180 crore to Rs 34 lakh crore at the end of March 31, 2021.

Steps taken so far to expedite and enable resolution of NPAs in India

  • The Government has come up with a 4-R Strategy:
    • Recognition: Value assets close to real value,
    • Recapitalization: Infuse equity into sick banks to safeguard capital position,
    • Resolution: Sell off stressed assets, and
    • Reform: Avoid repetition of the problem
  • SARFAESI Act, 2002: The Act empowers Banks/ Financial Institutions to recover their NPAs without the intervention of the court, through acquiring and disposing secured assets without the intervention of the court in case of outstanding amounts greater than 1 lakh.
    • SARFAESI, it is alleged, has been used only against the small borrowers primarily from MSME sector.
  • Asset Quality Review: RBI has also initiated an Asset Quality Review (AQR) which mandates the banks to report actual NPAs in their balance sheets.
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy code Act, 2016: It provides a time-bound process for resolving insolvency in companies and among individuals.
    • The Government implemented the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) to consolidate all laws related to insolvency and bankruptcy and to tackle Non-Performing Assets (NPA), a problem that has been pulling the Indian economy down for years.
    • According to RBI, banks recovered on average more than 40% of the amount filed through the IBC in 2018-19, against just over 20% in total through the SARFAESI, Lok Adalats and Debt Recovery Tribunals.
  • Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 enacted for effective action against wilful defaulters fleeing Indian jurisdiction.

Potential of NARCL as the “Bad Bank”: Critical Analysis

  • While there are 28 ARCs in the private sector, there was a need for government-backed receipts for big ticket resolutions.
  • The government guarantee for the proposed security receipts is a positive stepping stone for unlocking stressed assets’ value.
  • The upfront cash payment by the NARCL to banks will immediately be accretive for the profitability and capital of the banks, however the ability of the NARCL to resolve these assets in a time-bound manner will be critical for future provision writeback by banks
  • The whole idea is to ensure that these assets for which this whole set-up is being created, and the value that is locked in the assets is realised and comes back to the banks; they use it as a growth capital and the banking system becomes more robust
  • From the perspective of a commercial bank saddled with high NPA levels, it will help.
    • That’s because such a bank will get rid of all its toxic assets, which were eating up its profits, in one quick move.
    • When the recovery money is paid back, it will further improve the bank’s position.
    • Meanwhile, it can start lending again.
  • From the perspective of the government and the taxpayer, the situation is a little more muddled.
    • After all, whether it is recapitalising PSBs laden with bad loans or giving guarantees for security receipts, the money is coming from the taxpayers’ pocket.
    • While recapitalisation and such guarantees are often designated as “reforms”, they are band aids at best.
    • The only sustainable solution is to improve the lending operation in PSBs.
  • Lastly, the plan of bailing out commercial banks will collapse if the bad bank is unable to sell such impaired assets in the market.

Conclusion

While the objective of NARCL is a novel one, the success lies in its implementation and downstream reforms in banks in lending. The NARCL will have to deliver on the recovery front or risk being a dump yard. Dump yards do not facilitate redistribution of capital in an economy and therefore have a cost.

Value addition

About National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL)

  • It will be a five-year guarantee for the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL)-issued security receipts to banks.
  • Under the proposed mechanism, the NARCL will acquire assets by making an offer to the lead bank.
  • Private sector asset reconstruction (ARCs) firms may also be allowed to outbid the NARCL.
  • Separately, public and private lenders will combine forces to set up an India Debt Resolution Company (IDRC) that will manage these assets and try to raise their value for final resolution.
  • A 15% cash payment would be made to the banks based on some valuation and the rest will be given as security receipts.
  • Once the NARCL and the IDRC have finally resolved the asset, the balance 85% held as security receipts would be given to the banks.
  • If the bad bank is unable to sell the bad loan, or has to sell it at a loss, then the government guarantee will be invoked and the difference between what the commercial bank was supposed to get and what the bad bank was able to raise will be paid from the Rs 30,600 crore that has been provided by the government

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Why is Montreal protocol considered the most successful global climate treaty? Evaluate India’s performance in implementing the Montreal Protocol. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Financial Express

Why the question:

This year’s theme for International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is  ‘Montreal Protocol – Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool’ and the United Nations is celebrating the Montreal Protocol’s unprecedented act of humanity.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons which makes the Montreal protocol as success and India’s performance with respect to it.

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 the answer by writing about the Vienna Convention and subsequent Montreal Protocol.

Body:

In the first part, write the reasons which make Montreal protocol most successful global climate treaty – negotiations, funds, universal ratification, clear articulation and innovation in substitutes etc.

Next, write about the India’s performance – phasing out Chlorofluorocarbon, Ratifying Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase out Management Plan (HPMP) etc. Cite stats with respect to India’s performance and mention its shortcomings.

Conclusion:

Suggest a way forward to completely phase out Ozone depleting substances.

Introduction

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the landmark multilateral environmental agreement that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 ozone depleting substances (ODS). The Montreal Protocol sits under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. It phases down the consumption and production of the different ODS in a step-wise manner, with different timetables for developed and developing countries. Developing and developed countries have equal but differentiated responsibilities, but most importantly, both groups of countries have binding, time-targeted and measurable commitments.

Body

Montreal protocol: the most successful global climate treaty

  • The Montreal Protocol mandated the complete phase-out of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which it has successfully managed to do in the last three decades.
  • The protocol was adopted in 1987, becoming the only United Nations treaty to be ratified by its 198 member-states.
  • This effort has led to the healing of the ozone layer hole which, in turn, protects humans, economies, and ecosystems.
  • Researchers believe that the size of the ozone hole has shrunk by around 4 million sq. km since 2000 and is not as deep as it used to be, thanks to the collective efforts of nations to cut the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other dangerous gases.
  • The Montreal Protocol offers a model of a successful environmental treaty that brought nations together to act swiftly on protecting the ozone layer.
  • In 2016, Nations that were party to the protocol got together in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as the next step towards addressing ozone depletion, also necessary to curb global warming.
  • Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol came into effect in 2019.

India’s performance in implementing the Montreal Protocol

  • Comprehensive Ozone   Depleting   Substances (Regulation   and   Control)   Rules,   2000   were developed   and   put   in   place   under   the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, which were utmost     important     for     the     successful implementation   of   ODS   phase-out   in   a   vast country like India.
  • The unique feature  of  these  Rules  was  banning  the  use  of CFCs   and   halons   in   manufacturing   of   new equipment  as  early  as  from  1st  January,
  • This has  not  only  achieved  the  early  phase-out of  CFCs  and  halons  in  the  country,  but  also reduced the inventory of ODS based equipment which   resulted   in   reduction   of   servicing requirements.
  • India phased-out of  production  and  consumption    of  virgin halons   as   early   as   2002,   being   high-ODP chemicals.
  • India accelerated  the  phase-out  of  production and  consumption  of  CFCs  with  effect  from  1st August, 2008, 17 months ahead of the Montreal Protocol schedule except use of pharmaceutical grade CFCs in manufacturing of MDIs for Asthma, COPD and other respiratory ailments within the country.
  • The phase-out  of  ODSs  in  MSMEs,  which  were widely   scattered   were   handled   using   an innovative  approach,  realizing  that  MSMEs  are having   relatively   a   large   share   in   Indian economy.
  • India successfully met the 2013 target of freeze of HCFC production and consumption and 10 % phase-out targets  of  HCFCs  in  2015,  as  per  the accelerated phase out schedule of the Montreal Protocol.
  • India has  voluntarily  followed  a  low  carbon development   path   in   HPMP   Stage
  • India is  the  first  country  in  world  to  develop  a Cooling  Action  Plan,  which  addresses  cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which  can  help  reduce  the  cooling  demand and to   reduce   both direct and indirect emissions.

Conclusion

India,   during   the   last   30 years  has  made  outstanding  contributions  for the  protection  of  ozone  layer. To add to its efforts, the Union Government recently approved the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on phasing down climate-damaging refrigerant Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study.

7. Six-year-old Abhijeet Solanki in Ahmedabad who earlier needed around 18-20 blood transfusions annually, is now cured of thalassemia and does not need any more transfusions, all thanks to his one-year-old sibling Kavya donating some part of her bone marrow. Kavya Solanki is India’s first-ever ‘saviour sibling’ who was born after her parents conducted a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis at fertility clinics. Six months after the transplantation, she is healthy and carries the minor thalassemia gene herself.

The concept of saviour siblings is an emerging medical technology. Through assisted reproductive technology, several embryos were extracted and their genetic make-up was checked for features that matched with the elder sibling prior to implantation. The matching one was then implanted and the pregnancy period was completed. Kavya was born in October 2018 and the bone marrow transplantation was conducted in March 2020. This mode of therapy is actively being performed in the US since 2000.

This concept of saviour siblings has started a debate on whether the procedure is ethical in itself. IVF specialists have told that the pre-implantation genetic diagnosis technique is ethical and legal for single-gene diseases like thalassemia.

    1. Analyse the ethical issues involved in the concept of ‘saviour sibling’?
    2. Would this set a precedent for selecting certain babies having desirable traits?
    3. What should be the way forward with respect to ‘saviour sibling’ as a medical technology?

(Answer in 250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the importance of saving lives via transplantations and in this context explain the concept of saviour sibling.

Body:

  1. Write about the ethical issues involved. Discarded embryos, sex-selective process, autonomy of the saviour sibling, legal challenges, a treatment only rich can afford etc.
  2. Write about the similarities in the process of saviour sibling and selecting certain babies having desirable traits. Bring outs its ramifications.
  3. Write a way forward for its regulation, prevent its misuse etc.

Conclusion:

Pass a judgement on the ethicality of the concept of saviour sibling.

Introduction

The story of India’s first “saviour sibling” has made national headlines. It has also raised questions about the ethics of using technology to create a child only to save or cure a sibling in a country with poor regulatory systems.

Body

Ethical issues involved in the concept of saviour sibling

  • Arguments for or against the use of PGD/HLA (Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) tissue typing are based on several key issues including the commodification and welfare of the donor child.
  • The main ethical argument against is the possible exploitation of the child, e.g. potential adverse psychological effects on a child born not for itself but to save another, and the possible future emotional reaction of the saviour sibling upon discovering that they were born solely to save the life of the recipient, rather than being ‘wanted’ for reasons other than transplantation.
  • Identity crisis and feeling of unwanted may arise that may have deep psychological impact later in life.
  • There is a fear of children who will be created as a medical commodity. This can lead to dystopian realities where in certain human beings will be raised for organ transplant alone to pave way for the rich to survive longer.
  • There is also a threat of designer babies being created especially where regulatory norms are weak.
  • Immanuel Kant noted that one person cannot be used as a means to someone else’s ends. In this case, the saviour sibling is born, as a means to elder sibling’s ends.
  • Putting the child at risk, without their consent is another ethical issue involved.

Would this set a precedent for selecting certain babies having desirable traits?

  • The saviour sibling concept may have the potential to save lives, but it is a moral slippery slope.
  • It is very hard to put barriers on it and the technology can be extrapolated to create something darker.
  • It’s one thing to create a saviour sibling for bone marrow, but how does one stop there onwards to not create someone to donate organs.
  • So applied to saviour siblings, if we allow the creation of saviour siblings (which is only slightly bad) this will lead to something much worse: the creation of fully-fledged designer babies.
  • The new technique is a dangerous first step towards allowing parents to use embryo testing to choose other characteristics of the baby, such as eye colour and sex”.
  • However, if effective controls and regulations are in place, this technology can be useful in saving some precious lines. The key is to strike a balance of ethical considerations and the utility of the technology.

What should be the way forward with respect to ‘saviour sibling’ as a medical technology?

  • Some argue that the parents’ intention plays a role in considering whether it is ethical to create a saviour sibling.
  • If the parents were not planning on having any more children and they are the having the saviour sibling only for the sake of the older child, then there is the concern of using the saviour sibling as a means to an end.
  • Britain, has a rigorous regulatory system that is used to grant permission for genetic biotechnology “that stops them from leaping too far forward down the slope”.
  • India also must have similar controls and checks and balances in place to ensure that technology is not covertly used to create designer babies or give rise to eugenics.
  • The fundamental questions we need to look at in India are regulation and registries. But we can’t deny use of technology because potentially someone would misuse it.
  • In India, parents are legal guardians of the children and hence a tacit consent can on child’s behalf can be considered if parent’s have the right intention.
  • Psychological assessment of the saviour sibling must be made later when they become aware of the circumstances under which they were conceived.
  • Parents also must be made aware about child psychology.

Conclusion

Currently there is a significant gap between the biotechnology advancements in prenatal testing versus the necessary legal and ethical framework. It is imperative that legal and ethical standards be set for the benefit of both the families and professionals involved in the creation of saviour children.

Value addition:

Concept of Saviour sibling

  • ‘Saviour Sibling’ refers to babies that are created to serve an older sibling as a donor of organs, bone marrow or cells.
  • Stem cells from the umbilical cord blood or blood of the saviour sibling are used for treatment of serious blood disorders like thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia.
  • They are created with In vitro fertilisation (IVF) so that they can undergo pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (or testing) to rule out any genetic disorders and also check bone marrow compatibility.

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