Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 March 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.

Answer the following questions in 150 words:


General Studies – 1


 

1. ‘Climate change is adding to complexities of monsoon predictions at regional and local levels’. In this context, briefly describe how the Monsoon mission will help improve the overall understanding of Monsoon. (150 Words)

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

Under the Monsoon Mission, Ministry of Earth sciences has developed the state-of-the-art weather and climate prediction models, which are now in operational use. These models include models for short range to medium range (1-10 days), extended range (10days to 30 days) and seasonal (up to one season). The models developed under the National Monsoon Mission (NMM) have shown very high skill in predicting important weather events on different time scales during the last 3years.

With climate change it has become more and more unpredictable to accurately estimate the arrival of monsoon, and other vagaries of monsoon.

Body

Issues with climate change and monsoon prediction

  • The available records of climate and rainfall in India have aided scientists to reconstruct the behaviour of Monsoon in the past six decades and the results have been surprising as well as complex.
  • But with climate change and events such as La nina, El nino, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict weather conditions such as cloudbursts etc.

About National Monsoon Mission:

  • The National Monsoon Mission was launched in 2012.
  • It aims to develop a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall on different time scales.
  • The mission falls under the aegis of Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • The responsibility of execution and coordination of the mission is bestowed upon the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.
  • Climate Forecast System (CFS) of NCEP, USA has been identified as the basic modelling system for providing long range forecasting (seasonal prediction of Indian Monsoon). Further, the Unified Model (UM), developed by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO), UK has been identified for short to medium range prediction
  • Targets: Development of a seamless prediction system using monsoon mission model, on different time scales, like Seasonal (for whole Monsoon season), Extended range (up-to 4 weeks), Short range prediction (up-to 5days).
    • Initiate and coordinate working partnership between Indian and foreign institutes to develop a system for prediction of extremes and climate applications
    • Develop and implement system for climate applications having social impacts (such as agriculture, flood forecast, extreme events forecast, wind energy, etc.)
    • Advanced data assimilation system for preparing high quality data for model predictions.

Significant achievements due to monsoon mission

  • Setting up of an advanced prediction system for Seasonal prediction; Extended range prediction and Very high-resolution Short-range prediction.
  • Commissioning of a Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS) for short and medium range prediction at 12km.
    • The Cyclone track and intensity prediction has also shown a steady improvement over the last three years.
  • The operationalization of Monsoon Mission dynamical model (MMCFS) to prepare operational seasonal forecast of monsoon rainfall and temperatures during the hot and cold weather seasons over India.
  • Use of MMCFS and extended range prediction system for preparing regional seasonal forecast outlook for south Asia under WMO recognised Regional Climate Center and South Asia Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF)activities.
  • Development of an algorithm to monitor and predict the Monsoon Intra-seasonal Oscillations (MISO) and Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) on the extended range.
  • Development of an index to predict the genesis and evolution of tropical cyclones and other cyclonic disturbances over the north Indian Ocean.
  • Probabilistic Quantitative Precipitation Forecast over all the Indian river basin have been operationally implemented.
  • Probabilistic (percentile based) forecast for extreme wind, precipitation have been established.
  • GFS/GEFS forecasts have been extensively used to provide guidance to Forest fire possibility and also to Renewable Energy Sectors namely, wind and solar.
  • Development of a high-resolution regional re-analysis product, IMDAA at very high resolution of 12km.

Conclusion

Several scientists have been trained for modelling & forecasts through Monsoon Mission Program and capacity building activities have been done through targeted trainings. A remarkable improvement in the skill of the forecasts especially in the short to medium range has been noticed.


General Studies – 2


 

2. The anti-defection law that was designed to eliminate political defection, is rather being misused to facilitate defection. Do you agree? Comment (150 Words)

Reference: The Indian Express

Introduction

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”. The institutional malaise is defection and party-hopping is state- neutral, party-neutral, and politics-neutral.

Thus, in 1985, to curb the evil of political defections, the 52nd constitution amendment act on Anti-defection law was passed and the 10th Schedule was added in the Indian Constitution. The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.

Body

Background and deviation from the Anti-defection law

  • The High Court of Bombay at Goain its judgment, delivered on February 25, held that the former members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Goa assembly who had defected to the BJP are exempt from disqualification under paragraph 4(2) of the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule, referred to commonly as the anti-defection law.

 

  • Under this provision, for a member to seek exemption from disqualification, the merger of the original political party has to take place first,followed by two-thirds of the MLAs agreeing to such merger.
  • The words “such merger”make it clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the merger of the original political party has to take place before two-thirds of the members agree to such a merger.
  • The HC seems to have missed the significance of the words “such merger”.In fact, the members of the legislature cannot agree among themselves to merge as the court has said, but they can agree to a merger after it takes place.
  • The anti-defection law was designed to eliminate political defection. However, the judgment of the Bombay HC seems to assume that paragraph (4) of the 10th schedule is meant to facilitate defection.This judgment is likely to open the flood gates to defection.

Criteria for merger to be not considered as defection

  • Merger alone is not enough:The opening words of sub-paragraph (2) — “for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph” — clearly mean that to exempt a member from disqualification on account of defection, and for considering this member’s claim that he has become a member of the party with which the merger has taken place, a merger of two political parties alone is not enough.
  • Not less than 2/3rd members should also agree:Not less than two-thirds of the members should also agree to such a merger.

Steps to be taken

  • Intra-party democracy: 170thLaw Commission report underscored the importance of intra-party democracy by arguing that a political party cannot be a dictatorship internally and democratic in its functioning outside.
    • Thus, the parties should listen to the opinions of the members and have discussions on the same. This would give the freedom of speech and expression to its members and promote inner-party democracy.
  • Non-partisan authority:Various commissions including National Commission to review the working of the constitution (NCRWC) have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • Independent committee for disqualification:Justice Verma in Hollohan judgment said that tenure of the Speaker is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the House and therefore, he does not satisfy the requirement of such independent adjudicatory authority.
    • Also, his choice as the sole arbiter in the matter violates an essential attribute of the basic feature.
    • Thus, the need for an independent authority to deal with the cases of defection.
  • Limiting Speaker’s discretion: Recent Supreme Court Judgement ruled that Speaker must decide on disqualification within three months of receiving application. It cannot be the discretion of the Speaker to take no action.
  • To be used for major decision making:Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government. e.g. passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions as recommended by Dinesh Goswami Committee.

Conclusion

There is a need to prevent unholy defections that lead to instability in the governance system of the nation. The current law is clearly flawed and has not effectively curbed defection due to lure of power and money. There is a need for a more rationalised version of anti-defection laws which will help establish a truly representative democracy.

 

3. What is the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, and why is it contentious? How does the non- fulfilment of this important amendment affect Indo- Srilanka ties. (150 Words)

Reference: The Hindu

Introduction

The 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution was passed in 1987. It mandates a measure of power devolution to the provincial councils established to govern the island’s nine provinces. It is an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene, popularly referred to as the Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord.

Amendment is aimed at facilitating reconciliation of Tamilian minority by giving them greater representation, but successive Sri Lankan governments see it as an imposition by India.

Body

13th Amendment and its implementation

  • It is an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that had aggravated into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which led the struggle for Tamils’ self-determination and sought a separate state.
  • The 13th Amendment, which led to the creation of Provincial Councils, assured a power sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, to self-govern.
  • Subjects such as education, health, agriculture, housing, land and police are devolved to the provincial administrations.
  • However, due to restrictions on financial powers and overriding powers given to the President, the provincial administrations have not made much headway.
  • In particular, the provisions relating to police and land have never been implemented.
  • Initially, the north and eastern provinces were merged and had a North-Eastern Provincial Council, but the two were de-merged in 2007 following a Supreme Court verdict.

Why is 13th amendment contentious ?

  • The 13th Amendment carries considerable baggage from the country’s civil war years.
  • It was opposed vociferously by both Sinhala nationalist parties and the LTTE.
  • The former thought it was too much power to share, while the Tigers deemed it too little.
  • A large section of the Sinhala polity, including the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which led an armed insurrection opposing it, saw the Accord and the consequent legislation as an imprint of Indian intervention.
  • Though signed by the powerful President Jayawardene, it was widely perceived as an imposition by a neighbour wielding hegemonic influence.
  • The Tamil polity, especially its dominant nationalist strain, does not find the 13th Amendment sufficient in its ambit or substance.
  • However, some including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — which chiefly represented the Tamils of the north and east in Parliament in the post-war era until its setback in the recent polls — see it as an important starting point, something to build upon.

How has the 13th amendment affected Indo-Sri Lankan ties ?

  • India has been urging Sri Lanka to implement and enforce the amendment ever since the country’s war with Tamil separatists ended in 2009.
  • The Indian diplomatic establishment has long held the view that the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka needs to be addressed politically.
  • India has a 69-million strong Tamil population living in Tamil Nadu. There are strong ethnic and cultural links between these Tamils and those living across in Sri Lanka.
  • The plight of Sri Lankan Tamils and their quest for political and other rights enjoys considerable support in Tamil Nadu and is an important election issue in the state.
  • Despite the incumbent government’s efforts, Sri Lanka’s relations with China remain strong.
  • Perhaps under Chinese pressure, the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government has not revived a stalled agreement that envisages joint India-Japan-Sri Lanka development of the East Container Terminal at the Colombo port.

Conclusion

India has always led by example in the democratic principle of governance. India should push for the reconciliation efforts for the Tamils in Sri Lanka while remaining sensitive to Sri Lanka’s security concerns.


General Studies – 3


 

4. Price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth. How does monetary policy ensures price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth in India. (150 Words)

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

The Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens to derail the inflation calculations of the Reserve Bank of India. With retail inflation likely to see a spike in the wake of the sharp rise in crude oil prices, the RBI faces the risk of falling behind the curve in controlling inflation given its accommodative policy stance — surplus liquidity in the financial system and low interest rates — so far.

Consumer price inflation which crossed the RBI’s upper tolerance level of six per cent to 6.01 per cent in January is likely to hit the seven per cent mark as crude prices touched $116 per barrel recently. The RBI had retained its accommodative policy stance and main policy rates in the February policy review.

Body

Price stability is a necessary precondition for sustainable growth

Price stability means an economy can avoid severe inflation and severe deflation. This causes many significant benefits:

  • Improves price transparency. With stable prices, consumers can recognize relative price changes without being confused by overall price changes.
    • This means informed decision-making when they consume and invest.
  • Avoids arbitrary redistribution of wealth: When unexpected inflation occurs, wealth is redistributed randomly, rather than based on merit or need: for instance, different goods’ prices increase at different rates, which punishes certain businesses more than others, and creditors receive less in loan payments than they would have with low inflation, while debtors benefit from inflation.
    • With price stability, this arbitrary redistribution of wealth is avoided.
  • Lowers risk premia: A risk premium is the lowest return on investment a consumer needs in order to hold a risky asset rather than a risk-free one.
    • If risk premia are high, it means consumers are unwilling to make risky investments, and economic activity slows.
    • If risk premia are low, real interest rates are lower and consumers feel more comfortable with investment decisions, which leads to economic growth.
  • Strong economic confidence: A reasonable price stability determines various factors such as Investment climate of the country, borrowing trends of businesses, ensure reasonable supply inputs of industries and also cost of agricultural produce.

Monetary policy ensures price stability

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a committee of the Central Bank in India (Reserve Bank of India), headed by its Governor, which is entrusted with the task of fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to contain inflation within the specified target level.
  • Inflation control is a legitimate objective of economic policy given the correlation between inflation and macro-economic stability.
  • The primary objective of the RBI’s monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
  • Monetary policy is concerned with changing the supply of money stock and rate of interest for the purpose of stabilising the economy at full-employment or potential output level by influencing the level of aggregate demand.
  • Repo rate changes transmit through the money market to the entire the financial system, which, in turn, influences aggregate demand – a key determinant of inflation and growth.
  • More specifically, at times of recession monetary policy involves the adoption of some monetary tools which tend the increase the money supply and lower interest rates so as to stimulate aggregate demand in the economy.
  • On the other hand, at times of inflation, monetary policy seeks to contract the aggregate spending by tightening the money supply or raising the rate of interest.

Conclusion

Price stability is a win-win-win for growth, financial stability of nation and inflation. Growth need not, in fact, be a ‘secondary’ goal. A sense of continuity is critical, especially when India has experimented with the inflation targeting framework for just five years against a tumultuous experience with inflation. However, it is important that the range and target be reassessed independently without an inherent bias towards either growth or inflation.

Value addition

Measures to keep the inflation under control

  • Commodity prices: GoI needs to remove supply side bottlenecks. For example, GoI can immediately offload 10-20% of its pulses stock with NAFED in the open market.
    • Stocks are currently at 14.6 lakh MT. This may immediately cool down pulses’ price.
  • Fuel prices: The prices of petrol, diesel and LPG has increased drastically crossing Rs 100/- and states/Centre are buck passing the responsibility of cutting taxes.
    • Bringing them under GST would reduce the prices by at least 30 rupees.
    • GST council must agree to this with haste.
  • Policy measures: Navigating out of this will need a fiscal stimulus to shore up consumer spending, an investment revival to increase the productive capacity of the economy, and a careful management of inflationary expectations.
    • Concomitantly, the government will also need to pursue redistribution of income to reduce the widening disparity.
    • This also calls for fiscal prudence to cut wasteful spending, find new revenue through asset sales, mining and spectrum auctions, and build investor confidence.

 

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. (150Words)

Reference: The Hindu

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.

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words:


General Studies – 1


 

6. The male domination of the ‘new and modern women’ is being done through a novel system of neo-patriarchy. What is ‘Neo-Patriarchy’ and analyze its impact on Indian society with relevant examples. (250 Words)

Reference: The Hindu

Introduction

Patriarchy is a complex and a mystifying institution of power and control in the society. Patriarchy signifies a male dominated structure which has a long history and has existed in every society in the world. Neopatriarchy is the new form of power and control structure which is guided by women, but supervised by men in the family. Eg: Nine-in-ten Indians agree with the notion that a wife must always obey her husband”. Indian women were only slightly less likely than Indian men to agree with this sentiment (61% versus 67%).

Body

Modern patriarchy in India

  • Women as political leaders: As per Pew research centre report, while Indians accept women as political leaders, they mostly favour traditional gender roles in family life.
  • Childcare responsibilities: Even today most burden of child care is borne by women; who even leave their jobs to become full-time moms. Traditional norms still held sway, with 34% convinced that child care “should be handled primarily by women”.
  • Wage and employment: Similarly, while a “slim majority (54%) says that both men and women” should be responsible for earning money, as many as 43% believed that earning an income is mainly the obligation of men.
    • Also, 80% of Indians agreed with the idea that when there are few jobs, men should have more rights to a job than women.
    • This is the reason for a very low labour force participation amongst women in India (21% vs 53% global median)
  • Son meta-preference: While Indians valued both sons and daughters, nearly 94% said it is very important for a family to have at least one son, with the corresponding figure for daughters being 90%.

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

Value addition

Examples from other nations to quote

  • Iceland: The island nation has a culture of political empowerment, and 39.7% of parliamentarians and 40% of ministers are women. It also became the first country in the world to make the gender pay gap illegal, together with the highest proportion of GDP expanded on childcare.
  • Finland: It has closed 86.1% of gender gap. With further improvement on the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, India should learn to actively include women’s participation in the labour force.
  • Norway: Gender quotas legislate for a 40% female presence in the country’s Parliament and on business boards, resulting in a strong female presence.
  • Sweden: Sweden remains one of the countries offering the most gender-equal conditions for childcare: 78% of annual gross wages are covered during maternity leave with public spending on childcare being 1.6% of GDP


General Studies – 2


 

7. Examine the importance of Central Asia in forwarding and safeguarding India’s geopolitical and economic interests. (250 Words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Introduction

As India deals with the post-pandemic world, a challenge is the loss of a friendly government in Afghanistan. This has increased the strategic value of India’s relations with the Central Asian (CA) republics. Three of them — Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan to the north, and Tajikistan in the northeast — border Afghanistan.

Regional cooperation to enhance the commonality of views with Central Asia, and counter the assertive Sino-Pakistani axis in Afghanistan is India’s major motive.

Body

Significance of Central Asian countries to India

  • Geo Strategic importance of Central Asia
    • Central Asia is strategically positioned as an access point between Europe and Asia and offers extensive potential for trade, investment, and growth.
    • Central Asia is not a part of India’s immediate neighbourhood and therefore it doesn’t share borders with India, the issue of connectivity between the two regions becomes of paramount importance.
  • Geo economic Importance of Central Asia:
    • The region is richly endowed with natural resources like  crude oil, natural gas,  gold, copper, aluminium, and iron.
  • Security  Importance of Central Asia
    • Central Asian region is  located close to the conflict prone area of West Asia and Afghanistan. There are very high chances of  any security threat spreading into the Central Asian region.
    • To tackle the challenge of terrorism, narcotics trafficking and arms smuggling.
    • Religious extremism, fundamentalism and terrorism continue to pose challenges to Central Asian societies as well as regional stability.
  • India and Connect Central Asia  policy
    • The Central Asian region is considered to be the part of India’s “extended neighbourhood.” Due to increasing presence of China, India formulated its Connect Central Asia Policy in 2012 which is a broad-based approach including political, security, economic, and cultural connections.
    • The primary goal behind the Connect Central Asia policy was re-connecting with the region which has a long shared history with India.
    • The key elements of this policy cover many important issue areas, including political cooperation, economic cooperation, strategic cooperation, regional connectivity, information technology (IT), cooperation in education, people-to-people contact, medical cooperation, and cooperation in regional groupings.

Recent developments in India-CAR relations

  • The External Affairs Minister attended the 6th Foreign Ministers’ Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Nur Sultan.
  • India extended a credit line of $200 millionfor the support of development projects and signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) on High-Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP).
  • Incumbent EAM become the first Indian External Affairs Minister to visit
  • India supported efforts for a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk group

Potential of India’s relations with Central Asian countries

  • Trade: Recognising the accentuated strategic importance of Central Asia, India should ideally take an aggressive approach towards trade with the region by not only trying to ensure the execution of pending connectivity projects, but also identifying other areas such as digital infrastructure and education that provide scope to improve regional presence.
  • Defence cooperation: Since security is a common concern for both India and the CARs, defence cooperation should be another domain to explore beyond what exists currently, much like the currently ongoing joint-military exercise “KAZIND” between India and Kazakhstan.
  • Roping in Russia: India could also look to utilise its longstanding friendship with Russia, one of the most influential players in Central Asia, to make more headway in the region.
    • A positive step to this end has been the recent conversation between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two leaders extensively spoke about expanding cooperation in Central Asia, amongst other issues.
  • Connectivity: New Delhi, which invested $3 billion in Afghanistan, has been expanding its ties with energy-rich Central Asian nations.
    • New Delhi has also backed regional infrastructure projects including the North-South corridor that includes highways and railways connecting Chabahar port in Iran with Russia to reduce the time of shipments between Europe and central Asian markets.

Way forward

  • India should leverage the historical, cultural and civilizational bonds as well as traditionally close people-to-people contacts to build its Central Asia partnership.
  • ICABC can help promote business linkages, facilitate greater understanding of taxation, business regulations in India and the Central Asian countries and incentivize trade, business and investment, especially in the area of Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Through Central Asia Dialogue, India has the opportunity of actively engaging in the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, including through the implementation of infrastructure, energy, transit and transport projects.
  • India should effectively use Chabahar port in Iran to establish trade and transport communications with Central Asian markets.

Conclusion

India and Central Asia face a myriad of common challenges like terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and such other issues. All these commonalities make them natural partner in their developmental journey and calls for greater cooperation in regional and global arena.

 

8. Discuss the possible reasons why the Indian constitution has fared better when compared to other constitutions which were enacted in a similar time-frame as that of India or thereafter. (250 Words)

Reference: Laxmikant Polity

Introduction

The longevity of India’s Constitution is remarkable, especially when compared with the global experience of national Constitutions. Various studies have shown that Constitutions have lasted only 17 years since 1789. Within this, Constitutions in the post-colonial countries, which gained independence after World War II, have been particularly fragile.

Pakistan, for example, has had three different Constitutions and large periods of rule without any Constitution. Among the 12 Asian countries that gained independence soon after World War II and drafted Constitutions, only three Constitutions have survived—India’s, Taiwan’s and South Korea’s.

Body

Possible reasons why the Indian constitution has fared better

  • Scholars attribute the Indian Constitution’s endurance to its design and the care with which it was crafted.
  • Starting before independence in 1946, an elected constituent assembly of nearly 300 members spent four years debating and defining every aspect of the Constitution—from the idea of India itself to the finer intricacies of federalism.
  • India’s Constitution is a 146,385-word tome longer than most novels and comfortably longer than any other Constitution in the world.
  • Historian Ramachandra Guha suggests that the framers believed that given India’s diversity, the country needed a strong government. They felt only a parliamentary system could provide this.
  • India adopted a system where the elected legislature is responsible for enacting laws, the executive serves as the administrative head of the government, and an independent judiciary, responsible for upholding laws.
  • Many other countries share similar systems, but the amount of power held in each branch can vary
  • India’s constitution does not give Parliament much power, but gives the judiciary more independence compared to other constitutions.
  • The American Constitution grants 35 rights, the Indian Constitution grants 44. This, though, is still less than the global average of 50 rights.
  • A few of these Constitutional rights, such as the right to education, only came after Constitutional amendments. This flexibility in amending the Constitution is considered to be one of the biggest factors for the Indian Constitution’s endurance.
  • India’s Constitutional flexibility was a deliberate strategy by the framers, who were cognizant of both the nascent tryst with Constitutional ideas in the country and the deep cleavages in Indian society.
  • The Supreme Court’s ruling in the famous Kesavananda Bharati case, which held that the basic doctrine of the Constitution cannot be altered has, however, ring-fenced the extent of flexibility the Constitution provides.

Conclusion

Thus, the Indian Constitution’s resilience could be explained by its ability to embody a principle of accommodation. It is Constitutional alchemy when groups with conflicting agendas believe they are better off with existing rules than in overturning them, and therein lies the key to India’s Constitutional endurance.

 


General Studies – 3


 

9. 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

 

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.

 

10. Critically analyze the rationale behind divestment of profit-making Public Sector Units (PSUs) and its possible macroeconomic impacts. (250 Words)

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

Disinvestment, or divestment, refers to the act of a business or government selling or liquidating an asset or subsidiary or the process of dilution of a government’s stake in a PSU (Public Sector Undertaking).

After Air India privatisation, listing of India’s largest insurer LIC could be another important milestone in the country’s economic reforms agenda. A successful listing of the life insurance behemoth will help expedite the disinvestment of other government-owned assets.

Body

Rationale behind divestment and strategic sale of PSU’s

  • Financing economic recovery:There is a pressure on the government to raise resources to support the economic recovery and meet expectations of higher outlays for healthcare.
    • The increase in public spending in the upcoming Budgetwill have to be financed to a large extent by garnering disinvestment proceeds and monetising assets.
  • Minimum government Maximum governance: To eliminate the need for the government’s involvement in non-strategic areas.
    • Government must not to business, is the rationale behind the divestment.
    • Government presence distorts competitive dynamicsfor private players.
  • Raising efficiency: To diversify the ownership of PSU for enhancing efficiency of individual enterprise. g. Hindustan Zinc is the world’s second-largest zinc-lead miner and one of the top 10 silver producers. It benefitted from the privatisation.
  • Better economic potential under private players: Economic potential of such entities may be better discovered in the hands of the strategic investors due to various factors. infusion of capital, technology up-gradation and efficient management practices
  • Better utilization of taxpayer money: Loss making PSU’sresults in consumers and taxpayers bearing the brunt of inefficient PSU operations. Instead, government can use the same resources into areas that directly benefit people.

Macroeconomic impact

  • Government has mostly used disinvestment for fiscal reasons rather than growth objectives.
  • Process of disinvestment is not favoured socially as it is against the interests of socially disadvantaged people.
  • Over the years the policy of divestment has increasingly become a tool to raise resources to cover the fiscal deficitwith little focus on market discipline or strategic objective.
  • Sometimes with the emergence of private monopolies consumer welfare will be reduced.
  • Mere change of ownership from public to private does not ensure higher efficiency and productivity.
  • It may lead toretrenchment of workers who will be deprived of the means of their livelihood.
  • Private sector governed as they are by profit motive has a tendency to use capital intensive techniques which willworsen unemployment problem in India.
  • Loss making unitsdon’t attract investment so easily.

Way Forward

  • Monetization of PSU assets instead of disinvestment which yield more.
  • Define the priority sectors for the government based on its strategic interests.
  • Investment in PSUs has to be in terms of generation of adequate social and strategic returns.
  • It should be time bound programme.
  • The government ownership is required for sectors with strategic relevance such as defence, natural resources, etc. The government should, exit non-strategic sectors such as hotels, soaps, airlines, travel agencies and the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
  • The government should look into strengthening the regulatory frameworkthat ensures efficient market conditions.
  • Instead of creating PSUs, the government should create regulations that would ease the entry of new players. The regulations should also ensure that the basic necessities of the consumers are met.
  • Allowing both domestic and foreign buyers to bidfreely for stakes.

Value Addition

Types of Disinvestments

  • Minority Disinvestment: A minority disinvestment is one such that, at the end of it, the government retains a majority stake in the company, typically greater than 51%, thus ensuring management control.
  • Majority Disinvestment: A majority disinvestment is one in which the government, post disinvestment, retains a minority stake in the company i.e. it sells off a majority stake.
  • Complete Privatisation: Complete privatisation is a form of majority disinvestment wherein 100% control of the company is passed on to a buyer. Examples of this include 18 hotel properties of ITDC and 3 hotel properties of HCI.

 


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos