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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 July 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: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. Among martyrs who willingly treaded the thorny path with courage and faced the gallows with fortitude, the name of Bhagat Singh shines as a star. He is rightly called ‘Prince of Martyrs’. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how the philosophy and nature of revolution evolved under Bhagat Singh and its essential dimensions and his contributions to national movement.

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: 

Give a brief about the ideology of Bhagat Singh.

Body:

Mention how the ideology evolved. From the belief in violence and heroic action towards national liberation and then the building of a new socialist society.

Mention the features of the new revolution they believed in. Preventing exploitation of all forms, Freedom, justice, ending communalism, scientific temper etc. Mention the various approaches taken by him to achieve the above goals.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the legacy of Bhagat Singh.

Introduction

Bhagat Singh, an iconic revolutionary, thinker, voracious reader and one of the well-read of political leaders at that time, was a giant of an intellectual. He pursued his passion for reading and writing relentlessly, despite fighting violently against Britishers. He studied to arm himself with arguments in favour of his cult of patriotism and enabled himself to face the arguments advanced by opposition.

Body:

Bhagat Singh: a hero of the masses:

  • He was revered by the youth, loathed by British Raj and opposed by none other than Mahatma Gandhi, like other revolutionaries he dreamt of freedom for motherland.
  • As much as he was involved in violence against the government, he exercised his conscience and used non-violence and fasting as a tool to break the hegemony of British power.
  • He always vouched for human dignity and rights beyond sectarian divide.

Revolutionary ideology and goals of revolution:

  • A real breakthrough was made by Bhagat Singh and his comrades in terms of revolutionary ideology, forms of revolutionary struggle and the goals of revolution.
  • The Hindustan republican association’s (HRA) Manifesto (1925) declared that the it stood for abolition of all systems which made exploitation of man by man possible. Its founding council had decided to preach social revolutionary and communistic principles.
  • The HRA had also decided to start labour and peasant organizations and to work for an organized and armed revolution.
  • Emphasizing the role of ideas in the making of  revolution, Bhagat Singh declared that the sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideasThis atmosphere of wide reading and deep thinking pervaded the ranks of the HSRA leadership. 
  • Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha:
    • Singh had turned to Marxism and had come to believe that popular broad-based mass movements alone could lead to a successful revolution.
    • That is why Bhagat Singh helped  establish the Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha in 1926 as the open wing of the revolutionaries.
    • The Sabha was to carry out open political work among the youth, peasants and workers.
  • Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev also organized the Lahore Students Union for open, legal work  among the students.
  • Patient intellectual and political work appealed to be too slow and too akin to the Congress style of politics which the revolutionaries wanted to transcend.
  • Effective acquisition of new ideology is a prolonged and historical process whereas the need of the time was a quick change in the way of thinking.
  • These young intellectuals faced the classic dilemma of how to mobilise people and recruit them. Here, they decided to opt for propaganda by deed, i.e., through individual heroic action and by using courts as a forum for revolutionary propaganda

A new idea and interpretation of revolution:

  • Revolution was no longer equated with militancy and violence.
  • Its objective was to be national liberation—imperialism was to be overthrown but beyond that a new socialist order was to be achieved, ending “exploitation of man by man”.
  • As Bhagat Singh said in the court, “Revolution does not necessarily involve sanguinary strife, nor is there a place in it for personal vendetta. It is not the cult of bomb and pistol. By revolution we mean the present order of things, which is based on manifest injustice, must change.”
  • Bhagat fully accepted Marxism and the class approach to society—”Peasants have to free themselves not only from the foreign yoke, but also from the yoke of landlords and capitalists.”
  • He also said, “The struggle in India will continue, so long as a handful of exploiters continue to exploit labour of common people to further their own interests.
  • It matters little whether these exploiters are British capitalists, British and Indian capitalists in alliance, or even purely Indians.”
  • He defined socialism scientifically as abolition of capitalism and class domination.
  • Bhagat was fully and consciously secular—two of the six rules drafted by Bhagat for the Punjab Naujawan Bharat Sabha were that its members would have nothing to do with communal bodies and that they would propagate a general feeling of tolerance among people, considering religion to be a matter of personal belief.
  • Bhagat Singh also saw the importance of freeing people from the mental bondage of religion and superstition—”to be a revolutionary, one required immense moral strength, but one also required criticism and independent thinking”

Conclusion:

Bhagat Singh and his comrades  made an abiding contribution to the national freedom movement. Their deep patriotism, courage and determination, and sense of sacrifice stirred the Indian people. They helped spread nationalist consciousness in the land.

Value addition:

Vision of Bhagat Singh:

At tender age he realised the larger goals of life rather than being circumscribed to accomplishing personal goals. He transformed the revolution ‘terrorism’ movement to a socialist one. He was a great innovator in two areas of politics

  • Raised the serious issues and threats of communalism
  • Raised the conscience of people in freeing them from mental bondage of religion and superstition.

 

Topic: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

2. The revolutionaries contributed a great deal in their own way towards the freedom of the country. Although they could not penetrate deeply into the hearts of the masses, they certainly infused in them a sense of patriotism and a determination to drive out foreigners from their soil. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write the contributions of revolutionary nationalists and analyze the reasons for the decline of revolutionary strand of national movement in the 1930’s.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by writing about revolutionary national movement and its nature of struggle. Mention important organizations and revolutionaries.

Body:

First, outline the major contributions of the revolutionary nationalists – spreading patriotism, creating fear in the minds of British, making them grant concessions, uniting the people of India, inspiring the youth.

In the next part, write the reasons for the decline of national movement – repression of the government, death/imprisonment of leaders, shift to popular struggle, joining mainstream political movement.

Conclusion:

Summarize that though the acts of individual heroism reduced but the revolutionary zeal remained and it manifested in Gandhian movements and Indian National Army of Bose.

Introduction

The emergence of revolutionary ideology in India during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the result of several internal and external influences working on the minds of the youth. Early phase of revolutionary movement in India was in Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, U.P., Orissa, Bihar and Madras provinces, but it predominantly operated in Bengal, Maharashtra and Punjab as these regions were more politically active than other parts of the country.

Body

Contribution of revolutionaries in the Indian Nationalism

  • The Revolutionaries ignited the national cause and carried the message of nationalism in the country and outside the country.
  • Their deep patriotism, courage and determination, and sense of sacrifice stirred the Indian people.
  • They helped spread nationalist consciousness in the land; and in northern India the spread of socialist consciousness owed a lot to them.
  • The era of revolutionary terrorism began and very soon secret societies of the revolutionaries came up all over the country.
    • For instance, the Anusilan Samiti, the most famous and long lasting secret society, with its headquarters at Calcutta created revolutionary centres all over India. Their activities took two forms- the assassination of oppressive officials, traitors and informers, and dacoities to raise funds for the purchase of arms, etc.
  • It had its impact on the Congress strategy to involve the youths in the short term programme of rural reconstruction.
  • Revolutionaries like Ras Behari Bose, Chander Shekhar Azad, Lala Hardyal M.A., Madan Lal Dhingra and S. Ajit Singh succeeded in expanding the Indian independence movement to other countries as well.

Conclusion

Though the revolutionary movement failed it made a valuable contribution to the growth of nationalism in India. The sacrifice and the martyrdom of the revolutionaries did not go waste. It appealed to the masses. Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Surya Sen, Rajguru etc. became household name of the Indian people and aroused patriotism among masses.

Although the revolutionaries had failed to attain set objectives of attaining independence through armed revolt, they were successful in arousing people and remove the fear of authority from their minds and strike terror in the heart of the rulers.

Value addition:

Factors that contributed to revolutionary nationalism:

  • Failure of Moderate and extremist congress:While the youth of Bengal might have been incensed at the British arrogance and repression, and the ‘mendicancy’ of the Congress moderates, they were also led to ‘the politics of the bomb’ by the extremists’ failure to give a positive lead to the people’.
  • Leadership’s failureto tap revolutionary energies of the youth.
    • In December 1908 nine Bengal leaders including the venerable Krishna Kumar Mitra and Ashwini Kumar Dutt were deported. In 1908, the great Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested and given the severe sentence of 6 years imprisonment. Chidambaram Pillai in Madras and Hari Sarvottam Rao and others in Andhra were put behind bars.
    • This led to leader-lessness and energy of the youths could not be channelised.
  • The Fallout of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement was the immediate reason.
  • The repressive policies of the British government led people to militant and revolutionary politics.
    • The government of East Bengal, in particular, tried to crush the nationalist movement. Official attempted at preventing student participation in the Swadeshi Agitation.
    • For instance, the singing of Vande Mataram in public streets in East Bengal was banned. Public meetings were restricted and sometimes forbidden. Laws controlling the press enacted, etc.
    • One of the most notorious examples of repressions was the police assault on the peaceful delegates of Bengal provincial conference; Barisal in April 1906. Many of the young volunteer was severely beaten up and the conference itself was forcibly dispersed.
  • Nationalism among youth:Most vital factor which contributed to amplify the spirit of nationalism among the countrymen was the ‘economic exploitation’ of Indians by the British Government and the Partition of Bengal.
    • g.: Jathindranath Banerjee, Virendra Ghosh of Anushilan Samiti; Barindrakumar Ghosh expressed it through ‘Yugantar’.

 

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

3. The mental illnesses and challenges that India’s LGBTQIA+ people face need comprehensive and long-term solutions. Elucidate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

During the recent celebration of Pride month (June) globally and in India, we witnessed an incredible social media presence filled with striking images and stories. It would not have been amiss to also pause and reflect momentarily on the state of mental health of LGBTQIA++ communities in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the discrimination and injustice faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in India and long -term solutions needed for it.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by stating that even though LGBTQIA+ people are given legal backing by abolishing section 377, they are still at the bottom of the hierarchy when it comes to basic human rights within the unit of family and society.

Body:

First, state that the social media campaigns and corporate ads for an inclusive society with respect to LGBTQI+ community have only been to a limited urban population. Many families especially in the rural areas are homophobic and transphobic and often treat people from the community to have some kind of psychological disorder.

Next, mention about issues such as forced rapes within families, admission into hospitals for change of sexual orientation, medical institutions admit people from the community along with other psychologically disturbed and conducting some psychological and sexual experiments, instances of suicides, families abandoning those who come out leading to financial insecurity etc.

Conclusion:

Next mention few NGOs and support groups that are trying to mainstream the cause of LGBTQIA+ community and create a truly inclusive society.

Introduction

The LGBTQIA+ community faces a lot of problems. The main problem is acceptance from people outside the community. For the Indian LGBT community, a truly inclusive society remains a distant dream. In urban India, where social media and corporate initiatives have created increasing awareness of LGBT rights, the scenario looks more upbeat for gay men than for transgender people or lesbian women. While urban LGBT voices that are heard through several online and real-world platforms form an important part of LGBT activism, these expose only a small part of the diverse challenges faced by the community.

The Tamil Nadu government recently amended its police conduct rules to bar harassment of LGBTQIA+ individuals and persons working to help them.

Body

Issues faced by LGBTQIA+ community in India

  • Mental health issues:
    • life-long dissonance, deep-rooted stigma, discrimination and often abuse, that the community experiences often leads to extreme distress and poor self-worth, resulting in self-hate and suffering.
    • The community is often fearful and has such deeply internalised stigma that it is challenging to even articulate what it feels like — forget about seeking help.
    • LGBTQIA++ youth are likely to suffer 1.75 times more anxiety and depression than the rest of society while the transgender community is even more vulnerable as its members suffer 2.4 times higher anxiety and depression.
  • Discrimination:
    • Sexual orientation and gender identity are rarely discussed in our social, educational or familial environments, and if ever done, these discussions are stigmatising.
    • Society marginalises LGBTQIA++ people throughout life, no matter how accomplished they may be.
  • Inadequate health services
    • When help is sought even by the most empowered, queer affirmative mental health services are hardly available.
    • A large majority of the psychiatrists in India still consider diverse sexual orientations and gender identities as a disorder and practice ‘correctional therapy’.
    • This is also true of general health care as well. In an ongoing study, the Raahat Project found that a large number of trans and gay men preferred to pay and seek help in the private sector rather than access government health care due to harassment and stigma.

Way Forward

  • The need of the hour is to change the status quo is to ensure that every aspect of mental health work in India must include aspects of queer mental health issues, especially in schools and universities, to destigmatise diverse gender and sexual identities.
  • A key aspect is building self-care skills among queer adolescents and youth.
  • Strong components of behaviour change and awareness and also building capacity are important ways to build agency among these youth populations.
  • We need is a movement on queer mental health guided by non-discrimination and public awareness in order to change social attitudes.
  • Community building is an important part of improving the mental health for LGBTQIA++ people.
  • We need to create supportive, safe and educative spaces, access points for health care and information on mental health.
  • One such project that the Raahat Project has been working on through participatory methods has opened a host of issues that LGBTQIA++ communities face in leading colleges on an ongoing basis.

Conclusion

We need comprehensive long-term solutions that make queer mental health a priority and address community needs but also engage everyone to change the environment in which they exist. These solutions must engage with all stakeholders, including educational institutions, communities, health-care providers, mental health professionals, police personnel and families who are often a key source of mental health stress.

Value addition

Background

  • The Delhi High Court’s verdict in Naz Foundation vs Government of NCT of Delhi (2009) was a landmark in the law of sexuality and equality jurisprudence in India.
  • The court held that Section 377 offended the guarantee of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, because it creates an unreasonable classification and targets homosexuals as a class.
  • In a retrograde step, the Supreme Court, in Suresh Kumar Koushal vs Naz Foundation (2013), reinstated Section 377 to the IPC.
  • However, the Supreme Court in Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. vs Union of India (2018) declared that the application of Section 377 IPC to consensual homosexual behaviour was “unconstitutional”.
  • This Supreme Court judgment has been a great victory to the Indian individual in his quest for identity and dignity.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

4. Loss of jobs and incomes after the pandemic has adversely impacted the urban poor. What can make the lives of the urban poor better in the short to medium term? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

To make rapid economic progress, India needs to improve the well-being of the workforce that migrates to cities in the hope of a better life.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about having a relook at urban poor with a new perspective of urban policies, urban planning and institutional frameworks

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 giving statistic about the numbers of urban poor in India

Body:

First, mention the various causes of poverty in Urban areas and how it is much more severe than the rural areas.

Next, write about the impact of pandemic on urban poor.

Next, write about institutional framework to help urban poor – minimum wages, social security, food and nutritional security and rehabilitation and resettlement, Housing etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

During the pandemic, governments all over the world faced the difficult choice of saving lives versus protecting livelihoods. According to the World Economic Outlook report of April, 2021 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), almost all countries, except China, experienced economic contraction last year. The global GDP shrunk by 3.3%. India’s GDP fell by 8%. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimates, the unemployment rate in India peaked at 23.5% in April 2020 before falling to 6.9% in February 2021.

Body

During the lockdown last year, the migrant labourers moved in large numbers from the urban to rural areas, which is symptomatic of the rural-urban livelihood security divide. This migration tragedy and the economic slowdown have highlighted the need for a similar livelihood safety net in urban India.

Threats to Employment

  • Slowdown in Major Employment Generating Sector:The shrinking sectors that have been affected the most —construction (–50%), trade, hotels and other services (–47%), manufacturing (–39%), and mining (–23%) — are those that create the maximum jobs in the economy.
  • Reverse Migration:The magnitude of economic slowdown can be exemplified by a wave of massive ‘reverse migration’ during the early phase of the lockdown whereby millions of workers returned to their home States due to a loss of livelihoods in cities.
  • Vulnerable Informal Sector:According to the International Labour Organization, of the 535 million labour force in India in 2019, some 398.6 million have poor quality jobs. Further, the lockdown exposed the state of vulnerable employment in urban low-end informal jobs.
    • Vulnerable employment is characterised by inadequate earnings, low productivity and difficult conditions of work that undermine the basic rights of workers.
    • The high and persistent incidence of vulnerable employment are a reflection of the nature of the structural transformation process, whereby capital and labour transfer from low to higher value-added sectors.
    • However, in India capital and labour are moving from low value-added activities in a sector to another sector, but not to higher value-added activities.
    • This leads to a situation where a large proportion of the jobs being created is of poor quality.
  • Increasing Number of Working Poor:Despite higher economic growth in recent years, working poor’s are increasing in India.
    • The service sector-led growth in recent years has intensified this as there is coexistence of strong job creation in some Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-intensive services.
    • However, along with a significant portion of the jobs being created in ‘traditional low value-added services, where informality and vulnerable forms of employment are dominant.
    • The poor quality of jobs and high informality are key for the high level of “working poor’s”. The working poorare working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line due to low-income jobs and low familial household income.

Strategies to make lives of urban poor better

  • Mobilising Localised Resources:Given the scale of urbanisation, the focus on urban employment generation programmes should be in coordination with local governments.
    • This will require actors at the local level to have more resources at their disposal.
    • Resource mobilisation could be enabled by the formation of local alliances, involving elected representatives, trade unions, entrepreneurs and community groups
    • This can also be the key to solving other problems faced by cities.
  • Localised Employment-Intensive Investment Policies:A major local initiative would be to design and implement employment-intensive investment policies. In this pursuit:
    • Local enterprise formation needs to be an integral part of the strategy, with converging interests for workers and entrepreneurs on issues related to technology and productivity enhancement.
    • Also, Small and micro enterprises which are the fulcrum of industrialisation, need extra support to balance the interests between labour and capital as neither have collective bargaining powers.
  • Launching of Urban Employment Scheme:There is need for immediate launch of an urban employment scheme oriented toward building large-scale medical, health and sanitation infrastructure in cities and towns across India.
  • Provision of Social Security: once the deprived households are identified, special community connect campaigns to ensure access to social welfare schemes should be started. Such campaigns should cover schemes related to LPG connection, bank accounts, life and accident insurance, EPFO and ESI facilities, and healthcare programmes like Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), employment schemes and drinking water, electricity, sanitation and other projects.
  • Ensuring Food security: access to public services is the biggest challenge for migrants. Nearly half the urban population does have access to cheap food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). With the portability of names and cards, access to grains has also improved. There is a need to establish identity markers based on the NFSA list as well as record the deprived households without access who may have been left out of this list. Through a participatory identification of the poor by a community connect process, it should be possible to delete the non-entitled beneficiaries of NFSA as well.
  • Promote Cooperation: nearly 70 lakh women in seven lakh self-help groups are under the National Urban Livelihood Mission. Complete coverage of deprived households by SHGs should be attempted in a mission mode. This process should be accompanied by access to credit for all groups for diversification of livelihoods. Creating basti-level women’s collectives will address several difficult challenges. Loans for street vendors under Svanidhi Scheme is a good step in that direction..
  • Reduce Migration: the arrival process of migrants to cities in search of work has to be made less traumatic. For this, we need to establish Migration Support Centres. The expansion of rental housing and property titles to settlers who fulfil the basic requirements will ease access to credit. Support for the destitute and the homeless must be made a priority.
  • Skilling, upskilling, and re-skilling opportunities must be readily available for poor households in ways that enable them to combine work with skill upgradation. Apprenticeships to the eligible will also help.
  • Urban local bodies must have specially designated teams for the poor. Municipal bodies have lost revenues after the introduction of GST as entry tax and octroi are no longer with them. While an increase in property tax is an option, this alone will not suffice. Stamp duty is a big revenue source in urban areas but it’s not directly available to local bodies. All this requires governance reforms. The financing of local bodies requires professionals with specialised skill sets.
  • Census towns (rural gram panchayat but urban in character) and many rural growth clusters have been identified by the Ministry of Rural Development as part of the Rurban Mission and some meaningful work has happened both on infrastructure and livelihoods in 300 clusters across the country. Some are tourism clusters, some specific economic activity clusters, and yet others are farm and non-farm clusters. We need to work for their emergence as robust growth centres.
  • Strengthening Basic infrastructure: Improvement of schools, health facility expansion, and anganwadis will go a long way in connecting deprived households to human development requirements. The Atmanirbhar Health Infrastructure Yojana has prioritised strengthening urban health centres and the creation of frontline health teams.
  • Enforce minimum wages: Labour contractors very often disburse lower than the minimum wages, though they do not show that on paper. Domestic helps need support for wages as oversupply leads to distress employment. With a section of the population ageing and life expectancy increasing, there should be employment opportunities for people with caregiving skills.
  • Master Plans must factor in the housing and welfare needs of the working class. The well-being of the urban poor cannot be an afterthought.

Conclusion

Given the economic contraction, there is a need to generate more jobs and reduce vulnerabilities by providing decent wages & job security in urban areas. Traditionally, governments have addressed this issue from a sectoral viewpoint given the contemporary realities, the need is to approach this from a rural-urban perspective. Thus, the present crisis calls for a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the issue of urban jobs.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. What is inflation targeting? From a critical assessment of inflation-targeting by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the Indian economy. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

India has achieved higher growth and lower inflation than most countries in these difficult times. It is dangerous to apply textbook economic theory based on perfect markets without taking contexts into consideration.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about significance of inflation targeting while discussing the concerns over the efficacy of inflation targeting by the RBI.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with a brief background of the context in the question.

Body:

Firstly, discuss the concept of Inflation targeting first – Inflation control is a legitimate objective of economic policy given the correlation between inflation and macro-economic stability. Inflation targeting is one of the many inflation control policies.

Next, then move onto explain the role of RBI in Inflation control – itis a legitimate objective of economic policy given the correlation between inflation and macro-economic stability. Inflation targeting is one of the many inflation control policies.

Next, write about the shortcomings of RBI.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Inflation Targeting(IT) is a central banking policy that revolves around adjusting monetary policy to achieve a specified annual rate of inflation. The principle of inflation targeting is based on the belief that long-term economic growth is best achieved by maintaining price stability, and price stability is achieved by controlling inflation. It is in-line with Urjit Patel Committee recommendations. An amendment to RBI Act by the Finance Bill, 2016, has made IT as the primary objective of RBI and it is also accountable in case of failure.

Body:

The Centre has decided to retain the inflation target of 4%, with a tolerance band of +/- 2 percentage points for the Monetary Policy Committee of the RBI for the coming five years from 1st April, 2021.

The Reserve Bank of India, recently in the Report on Currency and Finance for FY21, has said the current inflation target of 4% with a +/-2% tolerance band is appropriate for the next five years.

Important observations made:

  • Trend inflation had fallen from above 9% before flexible-inflation targeting (FIT) to a range of 3.8-4.3 % during FIT, indicating that 4% is the appropriate level of the inflation target.
  • An inflation rate of 6% is the appropriate upper tolerance limit for the target.
  • A lower bound above 2% can lead to actual inflation frequently dipping below the tolerance band while a lower bound below 2% will hamper growth, indicating that an inflation rate of 2 % is the appropriate lower tolerance bound.

Concerns over efficacy in inflation targeting:

  • Logical vulnerabilities:
    • However, what has remained hidden in public discourse is the economic model that underlies inflation targeting.
    • This model revolves around the proposition that inflation reflects “overheating”, or economic activity at a level greater than the “natural” level of output, having been taken there by central banks that have kept interest rates too low, at a level lower than the “natural” rate of interest.
    • From this follows the recommendation that the cure to inflation is to raise the rate of interest set by the central bank, the so-called policy rate, which in India is termed ‘repo’ rate.
    • A feature of this theory of inflation is that its central construct, the natural level of output, is unobservable.
    • This makes it next to impossible to verify the explanation, which is also self-referential.
    • Despite this logical vulnerability, inflation targeting is a reality in that it is the Centre’s stated policy of inflation control.
  • Mirage of success:
    • Inflation targeting has been successful on the grounds that the inflation rate has remained within the band agreed to between the government and the RBI, and whether it has been achieved by “anchoring inflation expectations”.
    • However, Inflation in India entered the prescribed band of 2% to 6% two years before inflation targeting was adopted in 2016-17.
    • In fact, inflation had fallen steadily since 2011-12, halving by 2015-16.
    • This by itself suggests that there is a mechanism driving inflation other than what is imagined in inflation targeting.
    • The view is further strengthened by the finding that the decline in inflation over the five years concerned was led by the relative price of food.
    • While falling food-price inflation per se does not rule out the possibility that expectations of inflation may have fallen in this period.
    • But it would be difficult to explain why expectations would have fallen so sharply even in the absence of inflation targeting, considered essential for anchoring expectations.
    • Finally, it is the flaring up of both inflation and inflation expectations after March 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, that makes it difficult to believe the thesis of an “overheating” economy.
    • On the other hand, we can explain the flaring up of inflation in terms of food prices, as supply chains were disrupted due to the lockdown.
  • Conflicting patterns shown:
    • Over the past five years, inflation in India has been controlled via inflation targeting and its benefits will be analyzed through five variables, namely growth, private investment, exports, non-performing assets (NPAs) of commercial banks, and employment.
  • Growth:
    • The economy’s trend rate of growth actually began to decline after 2010-11.
    • So, inflation targeting could not have caused it, but it is of interest that sharply falling inflation could do nothing to revive growth, belying the proposition that low inflation is conducive to growth.
  • Investment:
    • For investment, there is reason to believe that higher interest rates, the toolkit for inflation targeting, may have been harmful.
    • The swing in the real interest rate of over 5 percentage points in 2013-14 was powered further in 2016, when inflation targeting was adopted, and could have contributed to a declining private investment rate.
    • It is interesting that policy entrepreneurs assert that the benefits of low inflation may be considerable for private investment.
  • Export and employment:
    • Exports and employment performed fairly poor since inflation targeting became official.
  • NPA’s (non-performing assets):
    • It has long been recognized that a central bank focusing on inflation may lose control of financial stability.
    • NPAs have grown since 2016, and the cases of IL&FS, PMC Bank, PNB and YES Bank suggest that poor management and malfeasance in the financial sector could escape scrutiny when the central bank hunkers down to inflation targeting.

Way Forward:

In the conduct of monetary policy in an open economy setting, foreign exchange reserves and associated liquidity management are key, there is a need to enhance the RBI’s sterilisation capacity to deal with surges in capital flows. The primary focus of FIT on price stability augurs well for further liberalisation of the capital account and eventual internationalisation of the Indian rupees.

 

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

6. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are in jeopardy due to the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the number of conflicts across the world. Evaluate India’s performance with respect to SDGs.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

The United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are in danger of slipping away from reach and along with them years of progress on eradicating poverty, hunger and ignorance.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about India’s performance with respect to SDG’s and changes required to achieve the target.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context about 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be achieved by 2030.

Body:

First, mention the important SDGs in brief and write about the various measures taken in order to achieve them.

Next, evaluate India’s performance toward achieving various SDGs by 2030 and mention the shortfalls.

Next, write about the various course corrections that are required in order to ensure that SGDs are achieved by 2030.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are in danger of slipping away from reach and along with them years of progress on eradicating poverty, hunger and ignorance. Urgent action is needed if the SDGs, which come with a 2030 deadline, are to be rescued, according to the SDG Report 2022, released recently. All 17 SDGs, set at the UN General Assembly in 2015, are in jeopardy due to the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the number of conflicts across the world.

Body

 

 

Findings of the SDG Report 2022:

  • The pandemic itself has emerged as one of the biggest threats to several SDGs, the statement said pointing at 15 million “excess deaths” directly or indirectly due to the novel coronavirus by 2021.
  • Economic shocks due to the worldwide health emergency pushed 93 million into poverty in 2020 alone, undoing “more than four years” work at alleviating poverty.
  • It also affected education and healthcare services for millions. Immunisation, for example, has dropped for the first time in a decade even as deaths from malaria and TB have risen.
  • The pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have already led to lowering of global economic growth projections by 0.9 percentage point, the statement highlighted, flagging the conflict for harming in more ways than one:
    • Raising food and fuel prices
    • Hampering global supplies and trade
    • Roiling financial markets
  • The report also flagged threats to food security and aids, rising unemployment especially among women and increases in child labour as well as child marriages.
  • The burden was greater on least developed countries and vulnerable population groups.

Challenges persisting in India to attain SDGs

  • SDGs on eradication of poverty and hunger, measures related to the availability of affordable, clean energy in particular, showed improvements across several States and Union Territories. The campaign to improve the access of households to electricity and clean cooking fuel has been shown to be an important factor.
  • While this is cause for cheer, the Index reveals that there has been a major decline in the areas of industry, innovation and infrastructure besides decent work and economic growth, again made worse by the lockdowns imposed by the governments seeking to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But the stark differences between the southern and western States on the one hand and the north-central and eastern States on the other in their performance on the SDGs, point to persisting socio-economic and governance disparities.
  • These, if left unaddressed, will exacerbate federal challenges and outcomes, as seen in the public health challenges during the second wave across some of the worse-off States.

Course corrections needed

  • Many others, such as ‘no poverty’, ‘quality education’, ‘decent work and economic growth’, ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’, and ‘climate action’, need a lot more work so that the country can be pulled up to the ‘Front Runner’ category from the ‘Performer’ category.
  • Partnership is the key to achieve this.
  • The current level of collaboration with States, UTs, civil society organisations and businesses should be further enhanced by overlooking any differences in political ideologies.
  • There is a need to aggressively implement SDG localisation efforts at the district, panchayat and village levels so that implementation feedback from the field is available, besides enabling true internalisation of the SDGs by the community.
  • Only work at the community level can make SDGs truly achievable and deliverable.

Conclusion

India’s push in the right direction in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to clean energy, urban development and health has helped it improve its overall SDG score from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2021. India must continue to aggressively take up the goals as a challenge for New India by 2030.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. You are Vice Principal of a degree college in one of the middle-class towns. The principal has recently retired and management is looking for his replacement. There are also feelers that the management may promote you as Principal. In the meantime, during the annual examination, the flying squad which came from the university caught two students red-handed involving in unfair means. A senior lecturer of the college was personally helping these students in this act. This senior lecturer also happens to be close to the management. One of the students was the son of a local politician who was responsible for getting college affiliated to the present reputed university. The second student was the son of a local businessman who has donated maximum funds for running the college. You immediately informed the management regarding this unfortunate incident. The management told you to resolve the issue with the flying squad at any cost. They further said that such an incident will not only tarnish the image of the college but also the politician and the businessman are very important personalities for the functioning of the college. You were also given hint that your further promotion to Principal depends on your capability in resolving this issue with the flying squad. In the meantime, you were intimidated by your administrative officer that certain members of the student union are protesting outside the college gate against the senior lecturer and the students involved in this incident are demanding strict action against defaulters. (250 words) (UPSC 2021)

a) Discuss the ethical issue involved in the case.

b) Critically examine the options available with you as Vice Principal. What option will you adopt and why?

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention the facts of the case

Body:

Give the major ethical issues involved along with the stakeholders.

Write the various alternatives which you can take as the course of action. Evaluate their pros and cons.

Select the best alternative which solves the issue and is ethically justified. Give solutions for any cons that arise from the possible solution.

Conclusion:

Stress on the importance of fortitude in such cases.

Introduction

The glaring issues in the college where blatant misuse of power is being done sets a bad examples to the students and to the society. This case highlights issue of injustice, immorality and abuse of power by the wealthy. An education institution that is expected to set a good example is violating the principles of ethics.

Body

Stakeholders

  • Myself as an aspiring Principal
  • Students who were caught and their future
  • Other students protesting outside
  • Management and senior lecture of degree-college

Ethical issues involved

  • Integrity: The foremost ethical issue in this case is that of professional integrity. While the senior lecturer has compromised his professional integrity, the situation is also a test of my own integrity, as it creates a conflict between my values/duty and personal interest.
  • Test of moral strength (morality): The present situation is also a test of my moral strength, as one hand it is the lucrative opportunity to become the principal of the college and on the other hand it is the duty to do the right thing.
  • Impartiality: The present situation involves the issue of impartiality, as the examination procedure has to be fair for all, any leniency for a few students will make the process partial for other students.
  • Professional ethics: The situation involves a test of my professional ethics. As it remains to be seen, if I can carry out my duty without any considerations of fear or favour.

 

Options available

  • Option 1: To listen to the advice of the school management and try to resolve the issue, at any cost, without taking any actions against the students.
    • Merits: This option will save the reputation of the college, in short term. The college will continue to gain, political and financial patronage from the politician and the  It might make the possibility of my elevation as principal more certain.
    • Demerits: It will compromise the sanctity of procedures. It will be impartial for the other students. It will tarnish the credibility of the college. It will set a bad precedent for the future. It will compromise my own professional ethics/morality and integrity. It will aggravate the student protests.
  • Option 2: To let the flying squad/concerned authorities take strict action against the senior lecturer, and the two students, according to the procedure, in a fair way.
    • Merits: It will enforce the sanctity of procedures. It will enhance the credibility of the college. It will set a right precedent for the future. It will ensure check against corruption/malpractices by teachers. It will calm the protests by other students.
    • Demerits: It might jeopardise future of the two children It might have financial implications for the college. It might lead to a bad publicity for the college. It will/might tarnish the reputation of the families of the concerned students. My chances of elevation will be diminished.
  • Option 3: To convince the flying squad not to take any action, and thereafter, punishing the boys and the lecturer after conducting an internal enquiry.
    • Merits: It will save the reputation of the college in the short term and its patrons. It will save the career of the two students and the lecturer. It will show my capability for crisis management.
    • Demerits: It will aggravate the protests. It might encourage more such incidents in the future. It will compromise the sanctity of fair procedures.

I will adopt the second option. Even though, it might bring a bad name to the college and may sabotage my promotion, it is the right course of action because:

  • College is a place for students to learn righteous values. This option will teach the students importance of ethics and morality.
  • Also, involvement of a senior lecturer in the incident, highlights that the situation requires strict action.
  • As gaining promotion by unfair ways, will defy the sanctity of means, violating the principle of purity of means and ends.
  • This option will be fair towards all the students who were honestly writing their exams.
  • This option will aid in pacifying the protests by the students.
  • This option will uphold the credibility of the college as a fair and impartial institution.

Conclusion

Even if one is ambitious, only right means leads to right destinations and not through obliging to unjust measures. Gandhiji said that if we sow the seeds of babool, one cannot expect or reap rose flowers.


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