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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 06 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: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. The 1890s and early 1900s were not only a phase of moderate struggle in India, but also in South Africa. In what ways did Gandhiji’s South African experience prepare him for leadership in India? Elucidate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publishers)

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:  

The methods used by Indians in their struggle in South Africa, and Gandhiji’s experience in the course of that struggle.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin your answer by writing briefly what problems Indians in South Africa faced, at around the time of Gandhiji’s arrival in the country.

Body:

List out the tools of protest/struggle used during the moderate phase of struggle in the Indian National Movement, then with respect to South African Indians. Mention various agitations undertaken by Gandhi while in Africa. Mention their impact.

Write what some of the learnings for Gandhi were in leading Indians against authorities in power (ex: he learnt how to handle religious diversity).

Conclusion:

End your answer by briefly writing how well known Gandhiji already was among a few leaders and masses by when he returned to India.

Introduction

In South Africa Gandhiji witnessed the ugly face of white racism and the humiliation and contempt to which Asians who had gone to South Africa as labourers were subjected. He decided to stay in South Africa to organise the Indian workers to enable them to fight for their rights. He stayed there till 1914 after which he returned to India.

Body

Gandhi led struggle in South Africa

  • Moderate phase of struggle: During this phase, Gandhi relied on sending petitions and memorials to the authorities in South Africa and in Britain, hoping that once the authorities were informed of the plight of Indians, they would take sincere steps to redress their grievances as the Indians were, after all, British subjects.
  • Satyagraha against Registration Certificates (1906): A new legislation in South Africa made it compulsory for Indians there to carry at all times certificates of registration with their fingerprints.
    • The Indians under Gandhi’s leadership decided not to submit to this discriminatory measure.
    • Gandhi formed the Passive Resistance Association to conduct the campaign.
    • The Government jailed Gandhi and others who refused to register themselves.
  • Campaign against Restrictions on Indian Migration: The earlier campaign was widened to include protest against a new legislation imposing restrictions on Indian migration.
    • The Indians defied this law by crossing over from one province to another and by refusing to produce licences. Many of these Indians were jailed.
  • Setting up of Tolstoy Farm: As it became rather difficult to sustain the high pitch of the struggle, Gandhi decided to devote all his attention to the struggle.
    • The Tolstoy Farm was meant to house the families of the satyagrahis and to give them a way to sustain themselves.
  • Campaign against Poll Tax and Invalidation of Indian Marriages:
    • A poll tax of three pounds was imposed on all Ex indentured Indians, which was a burden for the poor Indians.
    • In 1913, he fought against the override of non-Christian marriages.

Learnings from South Africa experience

  • Gandhi through his experience of organizing protest in South Africa learnt:
  • That the masses had immense capacity to participate in and sacrifice for a cause that moved them.
  • He was able to unite Indians belonging to different religions and classes, and men and women alike under his leadership.
  • He also came to realise that at times the leaders have to take decisions unpopular with their enthusiastic supporters.
  • He was able to evolve his own style of leadership and politics and new techniques of struggle on a limited scale, untrammelled by the opposition of contending political currents.
  • As Gandhi took the charge of Indian National Movement, he slowly introduced his distinctive Gandhian methods of protest like truth, non-violence, civil obedience, non-cooperation which he evolved in South Africa.
  • Gandhi also brought women in to Indian National movement, during his organization of protest in Africa, as he was convinced of the inner strength of women.

Conclusion

Gandhi returned to India in January 1915 from South Africa. The Indian struggle against imperialism took a decisive turn towards a broad-based popular struggle with the emergence of Gandhi on the Indian political scene.

 

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. Despite achieving independence, African states faced several problems that plunged it political turmoil and economic backwardness. 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:  

Problems faced by African nations after independence, and the role played by the United Nations in helping resolving their problems.

Directive word:

Critically comment – 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. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Introduction: 

Introduce the answer by writing about decolonisation of Africa and how it took place.

Body:

The problems faced by independent African nations were not very different. List the common problems, and use examples. Also cite some unique problems that plagued individual African countries (ex: apartheid in South Africa), Civil wars in western Africa, emergence of dictators etc.

Mention the impact of the above on African countries and link it with present day.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting how African countries to this day are being affected by their colonial past.

Introduction

The main challenge that Africans faced when they gained independence from colonial rule was the question of how to build a stable system of government. Many African countries were not divided along tribal lines, making too difficult to establish a unified state. Such differences had been largely suppressed under colonial rule. But under independence they came to the surface once more, causing severe problems for many of the new nation states.

Body

Problems faced by independent African nations

  • Lack of manufacturing capacity: These new countries also lacked the manufacturing infrastructure to add value to their raw materials.
    • Rich as many African countries were in cash crops and minerals, they could not process these goods
    • g.: Kwame Nkrumah – the first prime minister and president of Ghana – knew, political independence without economic independence was meaningless.
  • Lack of infrastructure: One of the most pressing challenges African states faced at Independence was their lack of infrastructure.
    • European imperialists prided themselves on bringing civilization and developing Africa, but they left their former colonies with little in the way of infrastructure.
  • Lack of National Identity: The borders Africa’s new countries were left with were the ones drawn in Europe during the Scramble for Africa with no regard to the ethnic or social landscape on the ground.
  • Straight line countries: There was, before the arrival of Europeans, no such territory as ‘Nigeria’ or ‘Mali’, ‘Namibia’ or ‘Gabon’; these were arbitrarily made up places designed to suit European priorities.
    • These nations pushed together ethnic groups that had over centuries usually had nothing to do with one another, spoke different languages, worshipped different religions and had long histories of rivalry and suspicion.
  • Series of military coups: Post-colonial West Africa has had more than its fair share of military coups. The 1960s were called the decade of coups in the sub-region.
    • E.g.: The coup syndrome began in Togo in January 1963, when the army deposed and killed President Sylvanus Olympio.
    • Nigerian army leader General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi seized power also in January 1966 and killed Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa.
  • Cold war: Cold War politics also presented an opportunity for factions that sought to challenge the new governments.
    • E.g.: In Angola, the international support that the government and rebel factions received in the Cold War led to a civil war that lasted nearly thirty years.

Consequences of the above on Africa

  • Little regard for the National Constitution: As soon as a civilian government is overthrown, the military junta puts aside the Constitution, proscribes all political activities and rules by decree.
    • This is a very undemocratic behaviour on the part of the military rulers.
  • Human rights abuses: Military rulers have little regard for the rights and freedoms of the individual.
    • The arbitrary arrest, detention and killings of politicians and others connected with the ousted regime and massive destruction or looting of property are disturbing features of military rule.
  • The fallacy of rescuing the state: In the majority of the coups that have occurred, the military has sometimes deemed it a national and patriotic obligation to rescue the country from total collapse and restore lost national prestige.
    • But this is not always the case. Most military regimes have turned out to be more corrupt, oppressive and self-seeking than the civilian governments they toppled.
  • Pervasive poverty: Africa today is one of the most under developed continents and hosts the world poorest and starved population on earth.
  • Genocides: The worst genocides in history took place in Rwanda, where millions were killed.

Conclusion

In spite of the abundant natural resources that most African countries possess, they are still economically poor and under-developed. The living standards of the people are very low and basic social services are deplorable. The roots of the major socio-economic problems facing African countries today can be traced back to the colonial period and the influence of neo-colonialism.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3. The SVAMVITA scheme is the resulting product when policy making for local bodies meets modern technology and economic prudence. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will distribute e-property cards to 1,71,000 beneficiaries under the SVAMITVA scheme

Key Demand of the question: 

To mention the key features of SVAMVITA scheme and the intent behind introduction of the scheme.

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: 

Write in brief about the aims and objectives of SVAMVITA scheme.

Body:

Firstly, Mention about the general issues of property disputes in rural areas

Next, explain the features of SVAMITVA scheme. Stress on use of technology such as drone mapping and GPS in order to create accurate land records.

Next, mention how the scheme would enable the rural population to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that the scheme would provide a positive impetus in the local governance to resolve land disputes and also provide economic spurt by promoting financial lending.

Introduction

On the Panchayati Raj Diwas on April 24 2020, the prime minister launched the ‘Swamitva Yojna’, or the ownership scheme, to map residential land ownership in the rural sector with the help of modern technology like drones.

The Prime Minister will distribute e-property cards to 1,71,000 beneficiaries under the SVAMITVA scheme in Madhya Pradesh.

Body

About SVAMITVA Scheme: Key Features

  • SVAMITVA, or Survey of Villages Abadi and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas, is a central scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj that aims to provide property rights to residents in rural areas.
  • Objective: The scheme will pave the way for using property as a financial asset by villagers for taking loans and other financial benefits, like in urban areas.
  • Implementing Agency: The Panchayats of the rural areas were expecting the launch of this scheme for a long time.
  • Technology: For the demarcation of inhabited land, the latest surveying method is Drone’s technology.

Issues of land and property in rural areas

  • Several villagers in the rural areas don’t have papers proving ownership of their land.
  • In most states, survey and measurement of the populated areas in the villages has not been done for the purpose of attestation/verification of properties.
  • When people do not have land papers, the chances of disputes get increased in rural area
    • This scheme will fill this gap and make the people aware of their ownership of land in rural areas.
  • Swamitva Yojana is aimed to fill the above gap to provide ownership rights to people in the villages.
  • As the property record of a village will be managed at the Panchayat level, the collection of taxes from the local landowners will also be done at this level only and collected money will be used for the benefit of the local area and people.

Significance of the scheme to rural population

  • It is expected to go a long way in settling property rights in rural hinterlands and likely to become a tool for empowerment and entitlement, reducing social strife on account of discord over properties.
  • The delivery of property rights through an official document will enable villagers to access bank finance using their property as collateral.
  • The residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record.
    • It is the latest technology for surveying and measuring of land.
    • Drones will draw a digital map of every property falling within the geographical limits of a village and demarcate the boundaries of every revenue area.
  • The property records for a village will also be maintained at the Panchayat level, allowing for the collection of associated taxes from the owners.
    • The money generated from these local taxes will be used to build rural infrastructure and facilities.
  • Freeing the residential properties including land of title disputes and the creation of an official record is likely to result in appreciation in the market value of the properties.
  • The accurate property records can be used for facilitating tax collection, new building and structure plan, issuing of permits and for thwarting attempts at property grabbing.

Conclusion

The scheme will go a long way in achieving social justice and securing the lives of rural people by providing them definite legal assurance of their land ownership. The scheme has also provided a boost to the ecosystem of drone manufacturing in the country. Ultimately, the scheme will help in creation of survey infrastructure and GIS maps that can be leveraged by any department; and, supporting preparation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) by making use of GIS maps.

Value Addition

Challenges in implementation of scheme

  • The scheme does not spell out how to resolve existing disputes on land in the rural areas.
  • There is a lack of grievance redressal mechanism and villagers have no means to place their objections or bring notice to the authorities regarding any discrepancies.
  • The scheme has not addressed the level of reliability of the drone survey, as accuracy rate may vary.
  • Before implementation, people must be apprised of the scheme thoroughly and made aware of their rights and benefits accruing out of it.
  • Without the cooperation of the people and their acceptance, the scheme will be difficult to implement.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4. Microfinance is not a financial system but a tool to alleviate poverty from the country and bring social change. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

RBI has sought to undertake a comprehensive review of the microfinance sector again, after 10 years, to better align the regulatory framework with the sector’s current realities.

Key Demand of the question:  

To understand the nature and functioning of microfinance industry and its role in eradicating poverty.

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 mentioning the credit lending structure of microfinance industry.

Body:

First, describe the lack of formal credit lending structures to the poor for initiating some business or investment activity and with no collateral.

Next, highlight the role of microfinance sector in empowering women and help the poor to begin an income generating activity and take up small entrepreneurial ventures through small capital financing.

Next, mention few successful models of microfinancing in India and abroad and a few takeaways from them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that the grass-root level approach of financing is a much needed strategy to alleviate poverty and promote women empowerment when a major section of our population is is the poor.

Introduction

Micro financing is the delivery of financial services to poor and low income households with limited access to formal financial institutions. It can also be described as banking for the underprivileged. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) came into being in the 90s as banks’ reluctance to lend to those without credit history provided an opportunity to those willing to take risk and organize rural communities.  According to Mohammed Yunus (founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh) access to credit was a human right, essential for the poor to create self-employment and income.

Body

Issues with lending credit to poor and rural households

  • According to World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Survey (2012), only 35% of adults in India had access to a formal bank account and only 8% borrowed from institutional and formal sources.
  • As per Census 2011, only 58.7% of households are availing banking services in the country.
    • However, as compared with previous Census 2001, availing of banking services increased significantly largely on account of increase in banking services in rural areas.
  • At present, only about 5% of India’s 6 lakh villages have bank branches.
    • There are 296 under-banked districts in states with below-par banking services.
  • In a diverse country like India, financial inclusion is a critical part of the development process. Since independence, the combined efforts of successive governments, regulatory institutions, and the civil society have helped in increasing the financial-inclusion net in the country.
    • Thus, there exists both a great need and the potential to tap into the unbanked population and bring them into the financial net.
    • Microfinance institutions are a way to do the same.

Role of microfinance

  • Empowerment of women: About 95 percent of some loan products extended by microfinance institutions are given to women, as well as those with disabilities, those who are unemployed, and even those who simply beg to meet their basic needs.
  • Poverty alleviation: They provide easy credit and offer small loans to customers, without any collateral.
    • Microfinance disrupts the cycle of poverty by making more money available. It creates the possibility of future investments.
  • Savings in rural households: It helps the poor and marginalised section of the society by making them aware of the financial instruments available for their help and also helps in developing a culture of saving.
    • Families benefiting from microloans are more likely to provide better and continued education for their children.
  • Creating employment: Microfinance is also able to let entrepreneurs in impoverished communities and developing countries create new employment opportunities for others.

Way forward:

  • There is a need for MFIs to consider adopting more flexible operating models, providing skills training and offering services such as portability of accounts to provide greater access for a longer duration of time.
  • A diversified menu of micro loan products linked to sustainable income generation activities via micro enterprises or a creation of community-based pooled enterprise could possibly make it more attractive and compatible with the requirements of women.
  • In addition, linking such developmental initiatives to an institution to nurture, monitor and handhold those activities in the formative stages is crucial for sustainability.

Conclusion:

As per the World Bank estimates, more than 500 million people have improved their economic conditions via microfinance-related entities. Strengthening the credit check and debt collection processes and educating the villagers about products and consequences is important. A model to retain and recycle within the target population could possibly lead to a sustained route for poverty alleviation.

 

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

5. What is the purpose of setting up of National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL) and why is it termed as Bad Bank? Discuss the factors that are essential for effective functioning of Asset Reconstruction Company. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: moneycontrol.com

Why the question:

RBI grants licence to National Asset Reconstruction Company.

Key Demand of the question: 

To discuss the need & nature of Asset Reconstruction Company and factors that will make it effective.

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 status of bad debts with the financial institutions and the need to separate out such debts to boost the overall performance of the financial institutions.

Body:

First, describe the structuring of the NARCL and also mention its mandate that makes it a bad bank.

Next, highlight the impact of bad debts being spread over various financial institutions

Next, suggest need of right team with the right incentive structure and an innovative approach in handling assets for an effective performance of NARC.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that global best practices coupled with local realities and needs, must be emulated for an effective resolution of bad debts.

Introduction

The Reserve Bank of India on October 4 gave licence to the Rs 6,000 crore National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL), a move that will help kickstart operations of the bad bank. K V Kamath Committee also suggested setting up Bad bank to revive sectors such as Trade, Textile, NBFCs, Steel and construction, etc.

Body

Overview on Non-Performing Assets and need for bad bank

  • Scheduled commercial banks (SCBs) were carrying NPAs worth Rs 8.96 lakh crore on their balance sheet at the end of March 2020.
  • Likely resurgence in NPAs: With Covid-related stress, Indian banks are expected to see a resurgence in their non-performing loans from Rs. 8.34-lakh crore in end-FY21 to ₹10-11 lakh crore by end of this fiscal.
  • Declining performance of IBC: The IBC of late is following the law of diminishing returns—after the initial success of selling a few big steel mills and other good assets, where the lenders recovered well over 50% of their dues, things have gone downhill.
    • In some high-profile cases, such as Videocon, Ruchi Soya and Jet Airways, the lenders have hardly recovered 5-6% of their dues.
  • Pending cases: Also, too many cases and too few NCLT judges have meant pile-ups and most resolutions taking twice the time limit originally set under the IBC.
  • Problem with existing ARCs: Also, the asset construction route has also run into issues. Here too the recoveries have slowed and the ARCs are also facing capital issues.
    • Their security receipts are being downgraded by rating agencies as the recovery expectations move downwards.

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

NARCL Role: Effective functioning

  • 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.

 

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

6. Geopolitics in the present times has moved beyond the terrestrial and maritime limits and of late, has found prominence even in the outer space. Critically comment on the growing commercialisation and militarisation of the outer space and India’s response to it. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The growing commercialisation and militarisation of outer space have triggered the interest of the Quad leaders to form a working group on outer space.

Key Demand of the question: 

To understand the geopolitics of outer space and the need for a global regulator to keep the competing nations in check.

Directive word:

Critically comment – 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. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the race among nations to establish domination in the outer space through scientific and human expeditions.

Body:

First give a few instances of aggressive expeditions of China and the new China-Russia collaboration in space exploration especially the exploration of the moon.

Next, mention about the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and its intent to exploit the outerspace for the benefit of all mankind.

Next highlight the importance of India’s diplomatic approach towards the space race and also explore options of our own scientific advancements and expeditions through some examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning that a common regulatory approach upholding the principle of Outer Space treaty is the need of the hour.

Introduction

The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. There is proliferation of space exploratory missions today, raising issues of space debris, weaponization and also space dominance turning space into tragedy of commons problem.

Body

Outerspace: Extension of geopolitical competition

  • Astropolitics: The US has traditionally dominated outer space in the commercial domain. Its military competition with Russia set the norms in the security field.
    • China’s emergence as a major space power — in both civilian and military is reshaping astropolitics.
  • China factor: The dramatic expansion of Chinese space capabilities and Beijing’s ambition to dominate outer space have lent a new urgency for democratic powers to come together to secure their national interests as well as promote sustainable order in the skies
  • No global rules: Space is a commons, where any nation’s decision to test an anti-satellite weapon, in the process creating gobs of junk, is unpunishable.
  • Multiple entities and debris: Both private and government satellite owners have an incentive to protect their equipment while it’s operating—but not thereafter.
    • Space junk is pollution, and as we have learned on earth there must be a clear line of responsibility for pollution, or public spaces will be ruined.
  • National and commercial interests are increasingly tied to space in political, economic and military arenas.
    • Beyond fanciful notions of solar energy satellites, fusion energy and orbiting hotels, contemporary political issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, cybersecurity and human rights are also intimately tied to outer space.

International rules and space governance

  • In 1959, the UN General Assembly established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Resolution 1472 (XIV). This committee identified areas for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
  • Outer Space Treaty of 1967: India is a party to the Outer Space Treaty.
    • The treaty prohibits countries from placing into orbit around the Earth “any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction”.
    • It also prohibits the stationing of such weapons on celestial bodies, like the moon, or in outer space.
    • The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all state parties to the treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes.
  • Although these treaties ban the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space, they do not prevent states from placing other types of weapons in space.
    • As a result, many states argue that existing treaties are insufficient for safeguarding outer space as “the common heritage of mankind.”
  • The international community has been debating for the need to introduce transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (TCBMS).
    • In this regard, European Union has also prepared a draft code of conduct (CoC).
    • However, major powers are yet to agree on the idea of establishing a CoC conduct.
  • Another important idea that has been put on the table jointly by Russia and China is the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT) instead of only Weapon of Mass Destruction which is resisted by US and the EU.

India’s approach to space activities: Way forward

  • India’s space programme has today matured to a great extent with reasonable launch capabilities and a range of satellites including for ISR and remote sensing.
  • Given the maturity of its space programme, India has begun to pay greater attention to space exploration including through its Moon and Mars missions.
  • India is also planning to do a crewed space mission called ‘Gaganyaan’, scheduled for 2022.
  • While India’s space programme has been developing a military profile, the most significant has been the demonstration of India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) capability in March 2019.
  • Delhi must legislate a strong regulatory framework to promote India’s space activity and protect its international interests.
  • India should take a hard look at the emerging challenges to the current space order, review some of its past political assumptions about the nature of outer space and contribute to the development of new global norms that will strengthen the essence of the Outer Space Treaty.

Conclusion

As outer space becomes a location for lucrative business as well as a site of military competition between states, the salience of space cooperation needs to increase in the coming years. The scale of the challenges and opportunities in outer space, however, demand more urgent and sweeping reform. That can only be mandated by the highest political level. India would prefer to see some movement on global governance issues because it has stakes in a peaceful outer space both for economic and security reasons.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine”.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote and highlighting its core meaning that morality must be from within and cannot be forced upon.

Body:

Mention the failure of authoritarian approaches to imbibe the principles of morality. Parallels may be drawn with examples such as failure of dictatorship and military regime that derive their power mainly through authority without much validation of the masses. This often results in the failure of such powers to bring in rule based moral behaviour of the people. Similar examples on religious lines may be given as well.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine. No moral system can rest solely on authority. While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.” (A J Ayer)

The above quote asks a very pertinent question about the ‘basis of morality’. Is morality originating from religion, or societal values or simply because an authority figure is imposing it.

Body

To ask questions about the origins of moral principles was often taken to be the same thing as raising questions about either the existence or the goodness of the supernatural beings who had supposedly given these tenets. However, certain moral principles which have religious sanction may be discriminatory. E.g.: Women wearing hijab and being accompanied by male escort at all times has sanction in Islam.

The caste system made untouchability a social norm, which is immoral. But it became the norm of the time until it was abolished. The authority of caste system, cannot be the basis of morality. Similarly, the genocide against the Jews by Hitler’s Nazi Germany is an example which shows how authority cannot define what is moral and immoral.

The idea is that, authority even if divine (God) cannot become the basis of morality. Even if one could demonstrably prove that God exists, this alone would not be sufficient to justify the claim that his rules should be obeyed.

This leads to the second question raised by a Divine Command Theory. If God does exist, how do we know that he is good? Many acts attributed to divinities in various societies seem barbarous. A.C. Ewing expressed this criticism nicely: “Without a prior conception of God as good or his commands as right, God would have no more claim on our obedience than Hitler or Stalin except that he would have more power than they had to make things uncomfortable for those who disobey him”

Conclusion

The only possible basis for a sound morality is mutual tolerance and respect. It is the tolerance of customs and opinions of each other and respect for each other’s rights and feelings and awareness of the needs of people. Hence, it can also be said that, there cannot be universal morality.


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