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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 February 2022

 

 

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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Discuss some of the major features of the Lasya form of dance. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: NCERT

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:

Write about major features of the Lasya form of dance.

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: 

Give historical background on dance in India in a brief manner

Body:

Highlight the important features of this dance form such as gentle tempo, elegant movement, and Abhinaya of the heroine’s mood in various rasas or sentiments.

Conclusion:

Summarize the points made above in a brief manner

Introduction

Dance in India has a rich and vital tradition dating back to ancient times. Excavations, inscriptions, chronicles, genealogies of kings and artists, literary sources, sculpture and painting of different periods provide extensive evidence on dance. Myths and legends also support the view that dance had a significant place in the religious and social life of the Indian people. Excavations have brought to light a bronze statuette from Mohenjo-Daro and a broken torso from Harappa (dating back to 2500-1500 B.C.E.) are suggestive of dance poses.

Body

The major features of the Lasya form of dance

  • An ancient classification of Natya followed in all styles is of Tandava and Lasya. Tandava the masculine, is heroic bold and vigorous.
  • Lasya the feminine is soft, lyrical and graceful. Grace and delicacy are typical of Lasya.
  • Lasya was the dance performed by Goddess Parvati in response to the male energy of the cosmic dance of Tandava performed by Lord Shiva.
  • Abhinaya, broadly means expression. This is achieved through angika – the body and limbs, vachika – song and speech and aharya – costume and adornment; and satvika – moods and emotions.
  • Three types of Lasya Nritya are practised today:
    • Vikat Lasya: The dance form in which Laya, Taal, Bhavas are exhibited while performing, is called ‘Vikat Lasya’.
    • Visham Lasya: By using ‘Bhramari’ through horizontal, circular and slanted movements, special footwork in Laya based dance, ‘Visham Lasya’ is performed.
    • Laghu Lasya: By producing sound on earth through anklets and through Anchit Kunchit Padvinyas, ‘Laghu Lasya’ is performed.
  • The Natyasastra created by Bharata has the mentions of Lasya dance in the following way : “as men were not capable of performing graceful dance full of rasa(aesthetic sentiments), bhava(emotions) and kriya(actions) and exhibiting gentle postures(angaharas) leading to sentiment, beautiful Apsaras, divine dancers were created”.
  • Indian temples are adorned with Apsaras, variously known as Devanganas or Surasandaris, in lovely dancing postures.
  • In this dance, instruments with soft sound, high bass are used such as ‘Manjira’, ‘Flute’, ‘Ghunghroo’ (anklets), ‘Madal, ‘Khol, ‘Tabla’, ‘Tumburu’ etc.
  • Bharhut and Sanchi stupas also has a number of dance scenes involving women.
  • There are numerous inscriptions describing the Lasya dancing skill and performances. The 10th century Bayana inscription of queen Chitralekha is a fine example.
  • The Raas Nritya of Mathura, Halisak of South India, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Oddissi, Mohiniattam, Kuchipudi etc, which are performed today in various regions owe their origin to ‘Lasya’.

Conclusion

It is when Tandav and Lasya come together that our sacred Earth is able to maintain the balance it requires to remain robust on its axis. That same Tandav and Lasya that describe the cosmic union of Shiva-Shakti, providing the potential of rebirth and recreation at every dead end as well as the promise of new beginnings at the deathbed of all that diminishes in oblivion.

 

Topic:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. Discuss the stylistic similarities and variations that can be observed in the Early Buddhist stupa art found at Sanchi, Bharhut and Amaravati. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: NCERT

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 discuss the similarities and variations of Stupa art at different places

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: 

Give a brief detail about Stupas in general.

Body:

-Highlight the similarities and differences between the stupas mentioned in
the question. E.g.

Similarities: essential elements such as spherical shaped dome, railings and gateways, motifs images

Differences: Material used, Sculptures design, visual perception 

Conclusion:

Conclude with the present relevance of the Buddhist Stupa Art.

Introduction

The stupa (“stupa” is Sanskrit for heap) is an important form of Buddhist architecture, though it predates Buddhism. It is generally considered to be a sepulchral monument—a place of burial or a receptacle for religious objects. At its simplest, a stupa is a relic-filled mound-like or hemispheric structure used for meditation. From the Vedic time onwards, stupas were used as burial mounds in India.

Body

In Buddhism, the earliest stupas contained portions of the Buddha’s ashes, and as a result, the stupa began to be associated with the body of the Buddha. Adding the Buddha’s ashes to the mound of dirt activated it with the energy of the Buddha himself. The best examples of Buddhist stupas are found at Amaravati, Sanchi, Barhut and Gaya.

Similarities

  • All the Stupas represent the ancient symbols of Buddha worship and are the earliest specimens of Buddhism art and architecture.
  • Around 100 B.C., a great stupa was made at Bharhut, in the eastern part of present-day Madhya Pradesh. Bharhut stupa was initially built by Asoka and was later improvised by the Sungas.
  • Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is a site of three stupas out of which the first and the oldest Great Stupa was originally commissioned by Asoka.
  • Amaravati Stupa experienced the best development in the period of the first and second centuries CE. But there is evidence of construction activities during the third century BCE also.
  • Architecture of stupas includes – base, drum, medhi (terrace) harmika, a pillar bearing Chhatra (umbrella), a railing called Vedika and gateways called Torana.
  • The main architectural glory of Sanchi was the four ornamental gateways carved with symbols associated with the life of Buddha or the Jataka stories.
  • At Bharhut, the important feature is the carved stone railings. These railings too have events of Buddha’s life or Jatak stories.

Differences

  • Sanchi and Bharhut stupas were the earliest of the stupa built by Asoka. These were low circular brick mounds surrounded by a wooden railing with no decoration or carvings. But in later Sunga- Satavahana times, these were converted into big monuments covered with stone and nicely carved gateways.
  • The material used in the Amravati School of Art, predominantly in the ”Stupa” is a distinctive white marble.
  • As in Sanchi Stupa, the early phase of Amaravati stupa is devoid of Buddha images except in the later stage during the second and third centuries CE Buddha images were carved upon the drum slabs and at many other places.
  • The representation of Buddha in human as well as in symbolic form is an important feature of Bharhut art, which marks progress over the simple art of the Mauryas.
  • The sculptural at Sanchi Stupa shows stylistic progression from Barhuta. The stupa-1 at Sanchi has upper as well as lower pradakshinapatha and four beautifully decorated toranas depicting various events from the life of the Buddha and the Jatakas.
  • The Amaravati stupa, which is in its final form, was completed around 200 AD, had carved panels telling the story of the life of the Buddha. The sculpture, beautiful and idealistically treated, showed for the first time, Buddha as a divinity, receiving worship.

Conclusion

The Jataka tales narrating the stories and ideals of Buddhism such as ahimsa or non-violence and nature conservation are also shown through the animal motifs like lion, bull, horse, stag etc on Stupas. Thus, early Stupa’s not only were relics but also a source of Buddhist ideals

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

3. Examine, why India has taken a subtle pro-Moscow position on the question of Russian attacks against Ukraine, highlighting the implications on India’s Strategic Autonomy. (250 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The analysis of India’s stand on Russia-Ukraine news has been in the news

Key Demand of the question:

 The reasons why India has taken such a position, along with other options and implications for India

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:

Brief on India’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine war

Body:

First, mention the recent incidents that highlight India’s stand on the war

Then, mention the reasons as to why India has taken such a position

Further, mention the options and implications for India

Then, address the impact of India’s move on its strategic autonomy

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward that India must take in this regard.

Introduction

India’s responses to the Russian aggression on Ukraine underline the fact that India is operating from a position of geopolitical vulnerability. While the Indian stand does reek of realpolitik, it reeks more of strategic weakness.  India’s neighbourhood is now surrounded by China, Chinese backed Pakistan and Pakistan backed Taliban in Kabul. All three are continental challenges that India dreads. For this reason, India needs Russia more than ever.

Body

Background: Russia-Ukraine war

  • The increasing aggression on part of Russia started with news of eastward expansion of NATO, especially Ukraine’s membership to NATO. This would mean deployment of western missiles and weapons in Russia backyard and its borders.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has played a major move by announcing formal recognition for the Donbas region enclaves (Oblasts) of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine, one which changes the course of the present diplomatic efforts.
  • Post this, Russian troops have started full scale invasion and have reached the capital city Kyiv.
  • The recognition of the two separatist groups that control parts of the Donbas region as governments signals that Russia is no longer interested in talks on the basis of the “Minsk accords”. The agreements — negotiated in 2014 and 2015, but never fully implemented — had secured a “special status” for the Donbas enclaves.

Reasons for India’s subtle pro-Moscow position

  • ‘China’ problem: There are understandable reasons for India’s (subtle) pro-Russia position.
    • An aggressive Russia is a problem for the U.S. and the West, not for India.
    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) expansion is Russia’s problem, not India’s.
    • India’s problem is China, and it needs both the U.S./the West and Russia to deal with the “China problem”
  • Geopolitics rather than emotions: There is today a sobering recognition in New Delhi about the weakening of the U.S.-led global order and the rise of China as a counter-pole, geographically located right next to India.
    • S. withdrawal from the region and its decline as the principal system shaper has complicated India’s place in regional geopolitics.
    • Neighbouring China as the rising superpower and Russia as its strategic ally challenging the U.S.-led global order at a time when China has time and again acted on its aggressive intentions vis-à-vis India, and when India is closest to the U.S. than ever before in its history, throws up a unique and unprecedented challenge for India.
  • Strategic autonomy: India did not endorse the harsh language used in the resolution condemning Russia’s actions.
    • It wants to maintain a balance between the Western bloc led by the US, and Russia, since it has strategic partners on both sides.
  • Beyond all weather friendship: For India, Russian ties are important. It must be recalled that Ukraine was against India during 1998 nuclear tests and had spoken against India with issue of Kashmir.
    • India’s Russia tilt should be seen not just as a product of its time-tested friendship with Moscow but also as a geopolitical necessity.
    • If in the future there is Chinese aggression or Pakistan tries adventurism on India, India will need all hands on the deck. Russia being the most important.
  • Russia’s support to solve continental problems:  There is an emerging dualism in contemporary Indian strategic Weltanschauung: the predicament of a continental space that is reeling under immense pressure from China, Pakistan and Taliban-led Afghanistan adding to its strategic claustrophobia; and, the emergence of a maritime sphere which presents an opportunity to break out of the same.
  • Defence supplies: New Delhi needs Moscow’s assistance to manage its continental difficulties through defence supplies, helping it ‘return’ to central Asia, working together at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or exploring opportunities for collaboration in Afghanistan.
    • Russia, to put it rather bluntly, is perhaps India’s only partner of consequence in the entire Asian continental stretch.
    • Therefore, having Russia on its side is crucial for India, more than ever.
    • Moscow may or may not be able to moderate Chinese antagonism towards New Delhi, but an India-Russia strategic partnership may be able to temper New Delhi’s growing isolation in a rather friendless region.

Implications for India

  • War may embolden China: The war on Ukraine could have major implications for India’s strategic calculus. For one, Russian action in Ukraine dismissing the concerns of the rest of the international community including the U.S. will no doubt embolden China and its territorial ambitions.
  • Sanctions may hinder India-Russia defence cooperation: Second, the new sanctions regime may have implications for India’s defence cooperation with Moscow.
  • Closer Russia-China axis: Third, the longer the standoff lasts, the closer China and Russia could become, which certainly does not help India.
  • Deflection of USA’s focus from Indo-Pacific: Finally, the more severe the U.S.-Russia rivalry becomes, the less focus there would be on the Indo-Pacific and China, which is where India’s interests lie.

Conclusion

India’s position also shows the unmistakable indication that when it comes to geopolitics, New Delhi will choose interests over principles. And yet, a careful reading of India’s statements and positions taken over the past few days also demonstrates a certain amount of discomfort in having to choose interests over principles.

However, New Delhi’s response to the recent crisis, especially its “explanation of vote” at the UNSC indicates a careful recourse to the principle of strategic autonomy: India will make caveated statements and will not be pressured by either party. In that sense, India’s indirect support to the Russian position is not a product of Russian pressure but the result of a desire to safeguard its own interests.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. It is important for India to widen and simplify its direct tax net. Analyze in context of measures taken by the government in this regard. (250 words)

Reference: The New Indian Express

Why this question

It has been repeatedly highlighted that India has one of the lowest direct taxpayers to population ratios.  Recently, the revenue secretary, while addressing tax professionals in an event, stressed the need to rewrite the tax laws to get rid of numerous exemptions and special treatment bestowed on select business activities or individuals.

Directive word

Analyze- here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and presenting them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue and bring out as to why there is a need for India to widen its direct tax base- what benefits it will provide and why it is important.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the need to widen the direct tax base  E.g. Despite the government’s several attempts at simplifying direct taxes, not much has been achieved in this direction. It is probably time for the government to overhaul direct tax laws like the way it did for indirect taxes with the implementation of GST

Body-

Discuss why there is the need for fiscal deepening of India and also discuss its consequences E.g.

  • India is trapped between the very poor countries that get a lot of foreign aid and the wealthy ones with very strong tax collections;
  • the tax collected for every unit of economic output in India was minuscule compared to other countries;
  • the Indian state will be in a better position to perform its key duties without running into repeated fiscal crises;
  • higher direct taxes could provide space for significant cuts in indirect taxes such as the goods and services tax, which in effect means a shift from a regressive to a progressive tax system;
  • a widening tax pool because of formalization means the current perverse system in which efficient firms are taxed at a high rate because inefficient firms manage to slip outside the tax system will end etc.

Conclusion

Based on your discussion, form a fair and balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction

Direct taxes are levied on a person’s or a firm’s income or wealth. Social objective of direct tax is the distribution of income. Direct tax collections, which include corporate tax and personal income tax, have exceeded the Budget estimates for FY’22, indicating economic recovery. As per the Budget document, the government has revised upwards the direct tax collection estimates for 2021-22 fiscal from Rs 11.08 lakh crore in Budget estimates (BE), to Rs 12.50 lakh crore in revised estimates (RE).

Despite the government’s several attempts at simplifying direct taxes, much more needs to be achieved in this direction in comparison to developed countries.

Body

Importance of widening and simplifying direct tax net in India

  • India is trapped between the very poor countries that get a lot of foreign aid and the wealthy ones with very strong tax collections;
  • the tax collected for every unit of economic output in India was minuscule compared to other countries;
  • The overall boost to tax collections helps in decreasing income inequalities and the Indian state will be in a better position to perform its key duties without running into repeated fiscal crises.
  • A further increase in the share of direct taxes will help the government to lower regressive indirect taxes that impose a significant burden on the poor.
  • This means a shift from a regressive to a progressive tax system.
  • As of 2021, Gross tax to GDP in India is around 10.2% in 2021. A greater tax to GDP ratio indicates that the government can cast a wider fiscal net.
  • A widening tax pool means the current system in which efficient firms are taxed at a high rate because inefficient firms manage to slip outside the tax system will end.
  • Higher direct taxes could provide space for significant cuts in indirect taxes such as the goods and services tax, which in effect means a shift from a regressive to a progressive tax system.
  • Direct taxes constitute an important source of government revenue. Their collection charges are also low.
  • A direct tax increases the civic sense of the people. When the people are fully aware of the payment of taxes, they are also conscious of the way the government spends the money.
  • Better socio-economic fabric leads to decrease in crime rates and productive communities leading to overall prosperity and economic growth.

Way forward

  • The share of direct taxes in total tax collections must go up as indirect taxes are relatively regressive.
  • Making compliance easy and taking tough action against evaders.
  • The government must raise the income threshold for the maximum marginal income tax rate of 30%, rather than lower the tax rate.
  • India’s corporate tax rate must come down to below 20%, to ASEAN levels if it wants to maintain its stature as an attractive investment destination.
  • It will create an incentive for individuals to incorporate their businesses and become more transparent.
  • Reforms must aim at doubling the tax collections by the Centre and the states combined.
  • The government must address the delay in drafting direct tax code.

 

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

5. What do you understand by ‘Hybrid warfare’? Elaborate on the measures that are needed to be put in place to tackle this form of warfare by adversarial nations. (250Words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Ukraine’s critical infrastructure has been attacked by Cyber-attacks. Apart from conventional warfare by Russia, this cyber-attack has led to the term ‘Hybrid Warfare’.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Hybrid warfare and measures that are needed to combat it.

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 them with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Hybrid warfare.

Body:

First, write the evolution of warfare and elaborate upon the features of Hybrid warfare and how different it is from conventional warfare.

Next, mention the vulnerabilities of the world to Hybrid warfare, citing Ukraine as an example. Write about the steps that are needed to be placed – tackling information war, identifying vulnerable areas, creating awareness, proactively taking action against hostile elements, etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward

Introduction

Hybrid warfare or the 5th generation warfare refers to the use of unconventional methods as part of a multi-domain warfighting approach. In Hybrid warfare, apart from conventional military tactics, non-military tools are used to achieve dominance or damage, subvert or influence. It is conducted primarily through non-kinetic military action, such as social engineering, misinformation, cyber-attacks, along with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and fully autonomous systems. Fifth generation warfare has been described by Daniel Abbot as a war of “information and perception”.

Several Ukrainian computers and websites faced cyberattacks by a destructive data-wiper malware hours before Russia began its military assault in the country

Body

Characteristics of hybrid warfare

  • Hybrid or Fifth-generation warfare is typified by its “omnipresent battlefield”, and the fact that people engaged in it do not necessarily use military force, instead employing a mixture of kinetic and non-kinetic force.
  • Unlike the earlier generations of warfare, which relied on the might of military, speed, stealth and surprise, in the latest, the fifth generation, the lines between war and politics, military and civilian are blurred.
  • The lives of common citizens might be more directly and intricately linked compared to even the forces at ground zero.
  • In the fifth generation wars, patience and time emerge as powerful weapons.

Measures to tackle hybrid warfare

  • Governments must institute a process to develop a national methodology of self-assessment and threat analysis. 
  • Institutionalizing a process concerning threat and vulnerability information will enhance hybrid warfare early warning efforts, assist resiliency efforts, and may even have a deterrent effect.
  • Hybrid warfare is an international issue, so should be the retort.
  • National governments must coordinate a rational approach amongst themselves to understand, identify and react to hybrid warfare to their collective interests.
  • Multinational structuresshould be established to enable cooperation and collaboration across borders.
  • Modern hybrid war which simultaneously combine conventional, irregular, and terrorist components is a multifaceted challenge that requires a compliant and versatile military to overcome.
  • Conducting self-assessments of critical functions and vulnerabilities across all sectors and ensuring regular maintenance. For example, regularly upgrading critical Fintech systems in the country.
  • Armed forces needs to upgrade itself by training in special battle techniques, as well as conditioning to overcome urban combat stress.
  • Training armed forces in use of technological tools such as smart robots, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
  • Deploying Intelligence tools like Real Time Situational Awareness (RTSA) for precise operations.
  • The perception of hybrid war is not new, but its means are increasingly sophisticated and deadly, and require a response in similar fashion.
  • Investing in journalism will indirectly help citizens in understanding the hybrid threats in a better way.

Conclusion

The proliferation of different tools of warfare and resultant expansion of the battle-field means that no particular service can guarantee victory. The modern battlefield needs not just military but political, psychological, electronic, technological warriors too. To win today’s ‘wars’, one needs a whole-of-government (WOG) approach with elements of Comprehensive National Power as part of the action/response system.

The Armed Forces should be prepared to take threats in all domains, as also take offensive actions in those domains. A synergistic, multi-domain, WOG approach may prove to be the decisive factor in battle-field dominance.

 


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