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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 October 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. In the 1960’s, the African experience was one of struggle for liberation, for freedom from colonialism and against racial prejudice. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

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 struggle for liberation and independence of African countries as well as racial equality in the 1960’s.

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: 

Start by writing about the wind of change that were witnessed in the 1960’s.

Body:

First, write about the factors that led to the awakening the colonies of Africa leading to their struggle for independence.

Next, elaborate that just a few years on either side of 1960, a wave of struggles for independence was sweeping across Africa. Between March 1957, when Ghana declared independence from Great Britain, and July 1962, when Algeria wrested independence from France after a bloody war, 24 African nations freed themselves from their former colonial masters.

Next, write about the struggle for racial equality in South Africa.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the outcome of the above.

Introduction

After the war the imperial powers were under strong international pressure to decolonize. In Southern Africa, however, the transfer of power to an African majority was greatly complicated by the presence of entrenched white settlers.

In most former English and French colonies, independence came relatively peacefully. But the transition from colonial governments did not always lead to peace. Internal conflicts within the newly independent countries and the continued resistance of the colonial powers in southern Africa often forced large numbers of innocent people to flee civil strife and repressive new regimes.

Body

Phases of Decolonization

  • After an initial phase from 1945 to about 1958, in which white power seemed to be consolidated, decolonization proceeded in three stages:
    • first, the relatively peaceful achievement by 1968 of independence by those territories under direct British rule (the High Commission territories became Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland, and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became Zambia and Malawi);
    • second, the far bloodier struggle for independence in the Portuguese colonies and in Southern Rhodesia (from 1965 Rhodesia, which achieved independence as Zimbabwe in 1980); and,
    • third, the denouement in South West Africa (which in 1990 achieved independence as Namibia) and in South Africa, where the Black majority took power after non-racial, democratic elections in 1994.

Struggles for racial equality in South Africa

  • Consolidation by Whites: Paradoxically, World War II and the rise of more radical African political movements initially consolidated white rule in Southern Africa.
    • Problems also occurred in countries where European settlers wanted to stay in control.
    • This happened in Algeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa and in each case cost many lives and much bitterness between the two groups
  • Apartheid: In South Africa, the apartheid policy was to entrench itself in power, to promote Afrikaner concerns, and to protect white supremacy.
    • Controls over African labour mobility were tightened, and the colour bar in employment was extended.
    • From 1959 chiefly authorities in the rural reserves (renamed “Bantu homelands” or Bantustans) were given increased powers and granted limited self-government, though they remained subject to white control.
  • Black opposition to apartheid policies in the 1950s was led by the ANC in alliance with other opposition organizations consisting of radical whites, Coloureds, and Indians.
    • In 1955 this Congress Alliance drew up the Freedom Charter, a program of non-racial social democracy.
  • It was especially difficult in South Africa where, from 1948 to 1990, the white government used a system by keeping the local Africans out of power through denial of the vote.
  • Once Apartheid was abolished, free elections were held and in 1994 Nelson Mandela (sentenced to life imprisonment by the Apartheid government on June 12, 1964) became the first black President of South Africa.

Conclusion

Although Africa was free by the beginning of the 1980s, civil wars erupted almost immediately due to the fact that the borders of the new states were drawn in such a way that hostile tribes were lumped within the same nation. As a consequence, colonial divide and rule policy, a legacy of political instability, religious and tribal conflicts have led to impoverishment and oppression.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. Simon Bolivar was instrumental in the resistance movement and played a key role in the Latin American fight for independence. Elucidate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

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 contributions of Simon Bolivar towards Latin American independence.

Directive word:

Elucidate – Give 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 brief description of Simon Bolivar – who is knows as the The Liberator

Body:

First write about the political philosophy of Simon Bolivar and that penned two political treatises—the Cartagena Manifesto and the Letter from Jamaica.

Next write about his military achievements – encouraging the people of South America to rebel against Spanish colonial rule, leading multiple expeditionary forces against the Spaniards, liberated territories etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising that his contributions earned him the epithet – The Liberator from the Latin American people.

Introduction

Simón Bolívar was a South American soldier who was instrumental in the continent’s revolutions against the Spanish empire. Simon Bolivar from 1813 to 1824 liberated many South American countries and later tried to organize them into a US type federation in form of Gran Columbia. He freed Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from the Spanish rule through an armed revolt.

Body

Political philosophy of Simon Bolivar

  • Young Bolívar moved to Spain in 1799 after the deaths of his parents and was associate of Napoleon, until he returned to Venezuela in
  • When Napoleon named Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain and its colonies, which included Venezuela, Bolívar joined the resistance movement.
  • The resistance group based in Caracas gained independence in 1810, and Bolívar travelled to Britain on a diplomatic mission. The fight for control of Caracas, Venezuela and most of South American continued on back home.
  • Finally, Bolívar returned to Venezuela and began a campaign to wrest control of that country from the Spanish.
  • The Cartagena Manifesto was written by Simón Bolívar during the Colombian and Venezuelan War of Independence, after the fall of the First Republic, explaining what he believed to be the causes of this loss. It was written in Cartagena de Indies, on 15 December 1812.
    • Bolivar advocated a strong central government and powerful executive to avoid infighting between city, state, and national authorities, which in his view created stalemate, dissipating funds and energy.
  • He and his followers invaded Venezuela on May 14, 1813; this marked the beginning of his “Campaña Admirable” (Admirable Campaign), which resulted in the formation of the Venezuelan Second Republic later that year.
  • Bolívar was hailed as El Libertador (The Liberator), though civil war soon erupted in the republic, forcing him to flee to Jamaica and seek foreign aid.
  • There he wrote his famous “Letter From Jamaica,” detailing his vision of a South American republic with a parliamentary setup modelled after England and a life-long president. His idea of being a nation’s chief who could not be removed from power would be heavily critiqued by other leaders and intellectuals.

Military achievements of Bolivar

  • Gaining support from Haiti, Bolívar returned to his home continent and became involved in a number of military battles, eventually able to claim several territories.
  • 1821 saw the creation of the Gran Colombia, under Bolívar’s leadership.
  • This federation included much of what is now Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador.
  • Further manoeuvres saw him named Dictator of Peru in 1824, followed by the creation of Bolivia in 1825.
  • Bolívar had succeeded in uniting much of South America in a federation free from Spanish control, but the government was fragile.
  • Despite his desire to create a union of states similar to that which created the United States of America, Bolívar faced opposition from internal factions throughout the huge Gran Colombia, with there being a push to form single nations.
  • As a temporary measure, Bolívar declared himself dictator in 1828, though in September of the same year he escaped an assassination attempt with aid from his mistress and fellow revolutionary Manuela Sáenz.
  • He resigned this post in 1830 and made plans to sail for exile in Europe.

Conclusion

On December 17, 1830, however, Simón Bolívar died in Santa Marta, Colombia, after a battle with what may have been tuberculosis. Today, Bolívar’s legacy can be seen in the multitude of statues and plaza squares bearing his likeness throughout South and North America.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. When we build back from the devastating impact of the pandemic, resilient health systems must be the bedrock of emergency preparedness and health infrastructure. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Covid-19 has cued an opportunity to institute equitable, resilient and sustainable health provisions in the country.

Key Demand of the question: 

To give an account on important features that a resilient health system must constitute.

Directive word:

Elaborate – Give 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: 

Start by mentioning the devastating impact of the pandemic on the healthcare system on India.

Body:

First, begin by describing various lacunas in present healthcare system in India.

Next, stress on the need of a robust Primary Healthcare system and mention about need for an inclusive approach towards beneficiaries of the healthcare system.

Next, write about the ways to ensure it – mention on need for increased public funding and the need for a greater healthcare workforce catering to the population demand of the nation.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that there is a pressing need to focus on healthcare system in order to build back better and achieve SDG-3.

Introduction

The world is at a crossroads. Almost two years since Sars-CoV-2 was detected, some countries globally are returning to normal, including India. Many more countries, including several in the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region, continue to respond to the pandemic aggressively, battling new and more transmissible variants.

The devastating effect of covid-19, especially during second wave, is a grim reminder of the poor health infrastructure in the country.

Body

Various lacunas present in healthcare system of India

  • Doctor shortage: There is a massive shortage of medical staff, infrastructure and last mile connectivity in rural areas. g.: Doctor : Population 1:1800 and 78% doctors cater to urban India (population of 30%).
    • Data from the National Health Profile-2019, the total number of hospital beds in the country was 7,13,986 which translates to 0.55 beds per 1000 population.
  • Out of pocket expenditure high: Even the poor are forced to opt for private healthcare, and, hence, pay from their own pockets. As a result, an estimated 63 million people fall into poverty due to health expenditure, annually.
  • Absence of primary care: In the northern States there are hardly any sub-centres and primary health centres are practically non-existent. First mile connectivity to a primary healthcare centre is broken. For e.g., in Uttar Pradesh there is one PHC for every 28 villages.
  • Dependency on import: Compounding the problem of poor health infrastructure and low spending, especially in the current COVID-19 environment that has caused significant disruptions to the global supply chains, is India’s dependence on medical devices imports.
  • As per IMA data, India’s medical devices imports were around Rs 39,000 crore in FY2019, having seen a growth of 24 per cent from the previous year.
  • Oxygen cylinders shortage: In October 2020, the government placed an order for 162 oxygen production units of which 33 were operational during April-May 2021. During second wave, there was a shortage of cylinders and containers to transport it.
  • Vaccine shortage: The vaccine roll-out had raised hopes. However, 3 months into the vaccination drive it became clear that India lacked the capacity to produce adequate vaccine to ensure coverage to 60% of its population. India saw one of the most devastating second wave of covid.
  • Drug shortage and black marketing of remdesivir and tocilizumab, which are recommended drugs in mild to severe cases of covid-19 were common cries for help.
  • Lack of ventilators: In large cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, people struggled to get ICU beds with ventilators. There was chaos in allocation of beds and the most vulnerable patients were unable to get treated which goes against the Right to Live under Article 21.
  • Rural medical practitioners (RMPs), who provide 80% of outpatient care, have no formal qualifications for it. People fall prey for quacks, often leading to grave disabilities and loss of life.

Measures needed to build a robust healthcare system

  • Prioritize primary health care: The current approach requires re-emphasizing the missing priority on PHCs and CHCs for developing comprehensive primary care.
    • Achieving comprehensive primary care requires a paradigm shift from disease-control vertical programmes to community-led, people-oriented primary care.
  • Low cost healthcare: It is relevant to develop low-cost primary care service delivery models involving nurses and allied health professionals which can lower the burden on the public health system marked by the stress of a low doctor-strength.
  • Task force and collaboration : The triple helix model of innovation,e., bringing together the government, academia and industry, now more than ever. To this end, the Government of India has established a ‘COVID-19 Taskforce’ with the objective of mapping together various technological advancements related to COVID-19 in public R&D labs, academia, start-ups, and industries.
    • The task force has already identified over 500 entities in the fields of medicines, ventilators, protective gear, among others.
    • India has seen the benefits of such collaborations in the past – in 2014, the Rotavac vaccine was developed under the leadership of Dr M K Bhan, as part of an international consortium that included India’s Department of Biotechnology and other partners from academia and industry.
  • India lacks the required number of public health professionals. The shortage is severe in many parts of the country, especially poorer states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
    • The focus should be to train a pool of social workers, psychiatrists, counsellors with public health orientation who could then transform the primary healthcare delivery system in the country.
    • Ayush doctors can prescribe Allopathy medicines after a bridge course.
  • Along with Ayushmaan Bharat (PMJAY), focus must be laid on strengthening the primary health centres with basic diagnostics and services, with district hospitals equipped with multi-specialty capabilities and services to people. Especially for the poor who cannot afford quality health care in private hospitals.
  • Better integration of health emergency and disaster risk management strategies, as well as public health emergency preparedness and response capacities, with PHC services.
  • Leveraging the potential of traditional systems of medicine, as well as key innovations in digital and disruptive health technology.

Conclusion

Especially in times of Pandemics like Covid-19, the significance and loopholes of Indian public health sector are led bare. It gives an opportunity to reform and rehaul the healthcare sector to be better equipped for future emergencies. It calls for a people-centred, decentralized public health system that socializes the cost of healthcare.

This is a once-in-a-century opportunity to strengthen and transform health systems, accelerating a health and economic recovery that is more equitable, resilient and sustainable for all.

 

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

4. The Interconnected and Interdependent world calls for a rules-based multilateralism, with a stronger and more inclusive UN at its core. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres released Our Common Agenda, which follows on the UN-75 Political Declaration to set a new agenda for a bold plan on how we can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Key Demand of the question: 

To discuss the need for reforms in the UN and for its renewed approach towards resolving global issues.

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 mentioning the latest strides of the UN in acknowledging the issues reverberating across borders and generations and the need for a new multilateralism.

Body:

First highlight the fact that the UN has called for a renewed commitment towards international cooperation.

Next mention the common issues faced across nations that need an inclusive approach and the need to bring in equality among nations in the multilateral diplomatic arena.

Next suggest the need to up the mandate of the International organisations to bring in visible change on ground with respect to the issues that they are mandated to deal with.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that the UN has stood the test of time since 75 years as a reliable global forum to resolve global issues and it is time for it to take a revamped approach to address the present day challenges.

Introduction

International organizations such as the UN were built primarily to resolve inter-state challenges, not problems that transcend borders, such as financial crises, pandemics, terrorism, crime networks, threats to our oceans, or climate change. We therefore must modernize our multilateral institutions, making them fit for purpose and better equipped to deal with the global and cross-generational challenges we face.

Body

Recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres released Our Common Agenda, which follows on the UN-75 Political Declaration adopted by all UN member heads of state and government one year ago. This new agenda sets out a bold plan for how we can tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Global Issues that require multilateral and inclusive approach

  • Today’s globalized world has generated a variety of globalized problems – from climate change to financial crises to cybersecurity – that can be effectively addressed only through multilateral agreements.
  • These challenges affect all nations of the world and it is in the interests of each nation that they be addressed successfully.
  • People want better access to basic healthcare, sanitation and education.
  • They also want more solidarity with those hit hardest by the pandemic and with those living in poverty.
  • Respondents’ top concern over the longer term is the twin crisis of climate change and accelerating biodiversity loss.

Changing mandate of international organisations: Reforms in multilateralism

  • Renewed cooperation: First, we need a renewed commitment to international cooperation.
    • Multilateral organizations must be furnished with the means and the mandate to make a difference on the ground.
    • Cooperation among the UN, regional organizations, and international financial institutions must improve at both the policy and the operational level.
  • Inclusive representation: The multilateral system needs to be more open and inclusive to give young people, civil society, the private sector, academia and others a seat at the table.
    • g., UNSC which is a powerful body, has only 5 permanent members who are divided on significant international security issues.
  • Second, we must act on the secretary-general’s agenda of bold steps to revive and strengthen our capacity to tackle poverty and inequality; ensure inclusion, equal participation, and justice; address the climate crisis and accelerating biodiversity loss; and equip ourselves for future threats of pandemics.
    • g.: Vaccine Maitri by India under COVAX obligation is a case in point.
    • Nations collectively tackling SDG’s, Paris agreement through Nationally determined contributions etc.
  • We have learned from the covid crisis that we need to strengthen our collective ability to anticipate, prevent and manage complex risks such as disease outbreaks, new wars, massive cyberattacks, environmental disasters, or other unforeseen events.
  • There is a need to strengthen global foresight and risk-management capacity, including the proposal for a new global ‘emergency platform’.

Conclusion

During the Summit of the Future in 2023, we should use the opportunity to step up our efforts to strengthen international cooperation. In today’s world, with so many issues reverberating across borders and generations, we must seize this moment to create a more agile, effective and accountable multilateral system that delivers for all citizens and enables us to tackle the global challenges we face.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. In the context of Supreme court ruling on fire-crackers, can green crackers lead its way to an alternative and clean replacement of conventional firecrackers? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question: 

The Supreme Court observed that six major fireworks manufacturers had violated orders requiring them not to use prohibited chemicals .

Key Demand of the question: 

To highlight the need for a strict monitoring and regulatory structure in order to bring in green crackers effectively into regular production and use.

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: 

Start by mentioning the ineffectiveness of Supreme Court’s ban on fire crackers since past three years.

Body:

First, write about green crackers developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its various types.

Next, write about how green crackers are environmentally safer than conventional crackers. Mention their benefits with respect to – less polluting raw materials, reduced particle emission and less noise level.

Mention few drawbacks of green crackers and how to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the need for an effective mechanism in the context of climate change as well as the cultural regularity of firecracker use in the Indian society.

Introduction

In October 2018, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India mandated the use of green crackers for Deepavali, prescribing specific norms for the manufacture. Last year, ‘green crackers’ were made available in markets, though the reach has been limited. These are milder avatars of traditional firecrackers in terms of the sound and smoke generated when burnt. Thus, making it important for us to have an understanding of what are Green Crackers.

Body

Green crackers: Overview

  • Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed green crackers, which are new and improved formulations of the previous sound-emitting crackers and other fireworks.
  • These crackers are named as follows: –
    • Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), which minimises Potassium Nitrate and Sulphur use, but matches the sound intensity of conventional crackers;
    • Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL), where Aluminium use is low and
    • Safe Thermite Crackers (STAR) with low Sulphur and Potassium Nitrate.
  • These crackers are to be identified using unique QR codes to guide consumers.
  • The Supreme Court had also previously ordered that the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation should certify the composition of fireworks only after being assured that they were not made of banned chemicals.

Benefits of green crackers

  • They are less harmful and less dangerous than the conventional ones. They are the crackers with reduced emission and decibel level.
  • They are known as ‘green’ firecrackers because they have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which substantially reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.
  • It promises a reduction in particulate matters and harmful gases, like nitrous oxide and sulphur oxide, by 30- 35 per cent.
  • The green crackers will be 25-30 per cent cheaper to manufacture and manufacturers would not have to make any changes in their facilities.
  • Components in firecrackers are replaced with others that are less dangerous and less harmful to the atmosphere.
  • Broadly, it avoids the use of ash or filler materials and use charcoal as per specifications by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO).

Challenges in implementation and transition to green crackers

  • The petitioners belonging to cracker industry argue that out of about 2,000 manufacturers, only 120 had the capacity and inclination to work with the court to green the crackers;
  • The claim that cracker industry provides jobs to many and there is no alternate livelihood option, needs to be resolved.
  • Evidently, the new cracker formulations have not had many takers. Firecrackers are not labelled with information on the person responsible for legal compliance, as ordered by the court.
  • At the recent hearing, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and A.S. Bopanna took on record the CBI report and noted that there had been a “flagrant violation” of previous orders.
    • It took note of the large volume of crackers burnt almost every day.
  • The fixing of accountability, as to which law implementing body will ensure prevention of burning crackers is still missing.

Conclusion

Sudden transition may affect people’s jobs, but this is needed for sustainability of the planet as well as to preserve people’s health. Government in tandem with all stakeholders must ensure that conventional crackers are banned completely and make sure it is implemented. This way, manufacturers will be forced to switch to green crackers, who can then employ the same people by providing essential skills to their existing workers.

 

Topic: Money laundering and its prevention.

6. Although India has signed information exchange agreements with various countries, but the chronic problem of tax evasion via tax havens resulting in money laundering remains unsolved. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has leaked an offshore financial record, the most voluminous ever: as many as 12 million documents from 14 companies in offshore tax havens with details of ownership of 29,000 offshore companies and Trusts as a means of money laundering.

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.

Key Demand of the question:

to write about the misuse of tax havens for money laundering.

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the Pandora papers as a sequel to the leaks such as Panama and Paradise papers by ICIJ.

Body:

First, describe the findings of Pandora Papers – mention how the rich set up complex multi-layered trust structures for estate planning, in jurisdictions which are loosely regulated for tax purposes.

Next highlight the continuous quest for tax havens and new modes of money laundering by few elite sections of the society. Mention its impact.

Next, write about steps taken by the government and mechanism put in place to check it – write about its limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning the need for a robust, smart and collaborative efforts by tax authorities on a national front to outsmart such complicated and layered tax-evasive structures and prevent money laundering.

Introduction

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has leaked an offshore financial record, which is the most voluminous ever, called the Pandora papers. There are at least 380 persons of Indian nationality in the Pandora Papers.

Earlier in 2016, Panama papers had also created a lot of buzz, however no concrete action could be taken against those whose names appeared in the leak.

Body

Findings of Pandora Papers

  • The Pandora Papers reveal how the rich, the famous and the notorious, set up complex multi-layered trust structures for estate planning, in jurisdictions which are loosely regulated for tax purposes, but characterised by air-tight secrecy laws.
  • The purposes for which trusts are set up are many, and some genuine too. But a scrutiny of the papers also shows how the objective of many is two-fold:
    • to hide their real identities and distance themselves from the offshore entities so that it becomes near impossible for the tax authorities to reach them and,
    • to safeguard investments — cash, shareholdings, real estate, art, aircraft, and yachts — from creditors and law enforcers.
  • The Pandora Papers investigation shows how businesses have created a new normal after countries have been forced to tighten the screws on such offshore entities with rising concerns of money laundering, terrorism funding, and tax evasion.
  • The Pandora Papers pierce the corporate veil and reveal how trusts are prolifically used as a vehicle in conjunction with offshore companies set up for the sole purpose of holding investments and other assets by business families and ultra-rich individuals.
  • The trusts can be set up in known tax havens such Samoa, Belize, Panama, and the British Virgin Islands, or in Singapore or New Zealand which offer relative tax advantages, or even South Dakota in the US, the biggest economy.

Quest for tax havens: Impact

  • Evading scrutiny: Though trusts are recognized as legal entities in India, trusts are also used by some as secret vehicles to park ill-gotten money, hide incomes to evade taxes, protect wealth from law enforcers,
  • Vehicle for economic offences: Trusts can insulate from creditors to whom huge moneys are due, and at times to use it for criminal activities.
  • Avoid tax in the guise of planning: Businesspersons avoid their NRI children being taxed on income from their assets by transferring all the assets to a trust.
    • There are certain grey areas of taxation where the Income-Tax Department is in contestation with offshore trusts.
    • After The Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, came into existence, resident Indians — if they are ‘settlors’, ‘trustees’, or ‘beneficiaries’ — have to report their foreign financial interests and assets.
    • NRIs are not required to do so, this provision is exploited.
  • Secrecy and laundering: Overseas trusts offer remarkable secrecy because of stringent privacy laws in the jurisdiction they operate in. This paves way for money laundering, round-tripping of money among other things.

Checks and balances in India

  • Non-disclosure of an overseas asset will be of interest to authorities and regulators in India.
  • Floating these companies and depending on the reason for which they are put to use, could also violate, individually or jointly, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Income-Tax Act.
  • Also, the Income Tax department will probe if there has been ‘round tripping’ of funds i.e. routing of funds invested in offshore entities back to India, and where required, refer the cases to the Enforcement Directorate.
  • It will also see if the offshore entities have declared all their incomes and assets to the Income Tax
  • GAAR (General Anti Avoidance Rule): It is an anti-tax avoidance law under Income Tax Act, 1961 of India and is framed by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
  • Common Reporting Standard (CRS): It is an information standard for the Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI) regarding bank accounts on a global level, between tax authorities with the objective of combating tax evasion.

Conclusion

The data is a shot in the arm for government of India as well, which was reeling without adequate information about black money abroad. The Government must constitute an inter-department investigation team to look into the veracity of the leaked papers.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world to the concepts of morality;

7. What is your understanding of Kant’s Categorical Imperative? (150 Words)

Difficulty Level: Easy

Reference: plato.stanford.edu

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To put forth one’s own understanding and views about Kantian Categorical Imperative.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining Categorical Imperative of Emmanuel Kant.

Body:

Begin the body by explaining in detail about your understanding of Categorical Imperative with examples. You can use simple but effective examples to put forward your ideas regarding Universal Moral Law etc.

Conclusion:

Give a concise summation of your views to conclude the answer.

Introduction

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that the supreme principle of morality is a standard of rationality that he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Kant characterized the CI as an objective, rationally necessary and unconditional principle that we must always follow despite any natural desires or inclinations we may have to the contrary.

The CI states that it is immoral to use another person merely as a means to an end and that people must under all circumstances be treated as ends in themselves. This is in contrast to some interpretations of the utilitarian view, which allow for use of individuals as means to benefit the many.

Body:

Kantian ethics refers to a deontological ethical theory ascribed to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The theory, developed as a result of Enlightenment rationalism, is based on the view that the only intrinsically good thing is a good will; an action can only be good if its maxim – the principle behind it – is duty to the moral law.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

  • Kant believed that there was a supreme principle of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative.
  • The CI determines what our moral duties are. Kant thought that all acts should be judged according to a rule he called the Categorical Imperative.
  • A categorical imperative denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that exerts its authority in all circumstances, both required and justified as an end in itself.
  • He gives the highest honor for the categorical imperative because it became universal law that can be applied to any and every one.
  • Kant is saying that simply willing that our moral rule become a universal law produces a logical contradiction.
  • His categorical imperative ensures that we aren’t doing these acts in mimic of others but rather in line with one universal law.

The three Categorical Imperatives stated by Kant are as follows:

  • Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
    • It states that one should choose our ‘codes of conduct’ only if they serve perfect / imperfect duty and are good for all.
    • Perfect duties are blameworthy if not met and are the basic requirements for a human being.
    • An example of perfect duty is the avoidance of suicide.
  • Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end.
    • This states that we should not use humanity of ourselves or others as a means to an end.
    • An example of the second maxim would be that of slavery.
  • Every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends.
    • This states that we should consider ourselves to be members in the universal realm of ends.
    • We should consider our actions to be of consequence to everyone else in that our actions affect not only ourselves but that of others.

Criticism:

  • Kant’s system, neglects to identify or, rather, to justify the existence of the moral law.
  • It neglects the value of nature

Conclusion:

Kant’s philosophy of human individuals as end in itself endorses the golden rule of “treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated”.  As no one would wish to be used simply as a means, therefore one should not also use other human beings as means to achieve their ends. This philosophy can be of great help in resolving the ethical dilemmas where there is debate between relative importance of means and ends.


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