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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS:16 August 2022

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

 


General Studies – 1


 

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

1. Discuss the major characteristics of art in the period between 200 B.C.E- 300 C.E with a special emphasis on Stupa architecture. (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 artistic characteristic between 200 BCE and 300 CE and about Stupa architecture.

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 context of development of art between 200 BCE and 300 CE.

Body:

First, write about the major features of art between 200 BCE and 300 CE – mostly related to religions, Buddha images, construction of Stupas, Chaityas and Viharas, non-Indian art in the artistic creations etc.

Next, write in detail about the features of Stupa architecture and its evolution during this period.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

The Mauryan period witnessed production of splendid specimens of art by the state. With the emergence of social groups who could extend substantial patronage for production of specimens of art, new trends in art activities came about. There was also, from the Mauryan period onwards, a shift toward using non-perishable material i.e. stone as a medium of creative expression. There was also constant interaction in this period with those art forms that flourished beyond the frontiers of the Indian sub-continent. There emerged various schools of art.

Body

In the period between 200 B.C.- 300 A.D. certain general characteristics of art may be highlighted :

  • Art activities in this period were mostly related to religions practised in this period and symbols and units associated with them.
  • The Buddha image which began to be sculpted in this period was-a departure from earlier representations of him in the form of Bodhi tree, Stupa, foot prints, etc. Making of images for worship became common among other religions as well.
  • The construction of Stupas, Chaityas and Viharas became
  • The art forms and all of their symbolic representations were not exclusive to any particular religion. For example, the Bharhut and Sanchi Stupas not only depict scenes from the life of the Buddha but also the reliefs of Yakshas, Yakshinis, Nagas and other popular deities.
  • Similarly, we find that the artists, in order to decorate the Stupas, carved many scenes which they observed in nature along with religious ideas. In fact, these are examples of secular art forms.
  • Because of regular interactions with other cultures in this period we also find elements of non-Indian art in the artistic creations of this period. This is particularly true of the Gandhara region which produced art typical to the region, in which many different elements came to be assimilated.

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

 

 

Main characteristics of a Stupa

  • The main structure of the Great Stupa consisted of a flattened hemispherical dome, called an anda, placed atop a cylindrical base. Anda, represents the infinite dome of heaven and signifies the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
  • The harmika, located at the summit of the anda, symbolized the zenith beyond life and death (nirvana). Its resemblance to a sacrificial altar was of particular significance for the attainment of nirvana required the sacrifice of the self and the world (what was below needed to be sacrificed to reach the top).
  • The parasolwas always a distinguishing feature that implied royalty and dignity; it symbolized the sacred Tree of Life or enlightenment.
  • The three elements of the chattraat Sanchi represented the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Law), and the Sangha (the community of monks).
  • Vedikaswere repeated around the stupa and on the terrace on which the anda rested (medhi level). They served to demarcate the boundary of the sacred precinct with the secular world.
  • The stupa is capped by a wooden railing that encircled a pradakshina patha (circumambulatory walkway).
  • Sanchi, Sarnath, Amaravati and Bharhut stupas are the oldest examples of Early Buddhist stupa art. The Birth, Enlightenment, First Sermon and Great Departure are depicted using various motifs in these stupas.
  • The Jataka stories were depicted on the torans of Stupas. The Jataka stories are a method of teaching Buddhists the lessons of karma, samsara and dharma. The overall structure of the Jataka Tales is about the cycle of samsara that the Buddha had to experience before reaching enlightenment.

Conclusion

It is thus apparent that the stupa, which was conceived as a simple monument for the Buddha’s corporeal relics, has over time transformed in its form and nomenclature and resulted in various types of structures all over the world. In some regions, even supplementary structures like monasteries have come up alongside stupas, fuelling the inception of new Buddhist orders and sects. However, the core ideology of the stupa remains constant throughout each new development, as does its symbolism and several crucial architectural features. These characteristics must, therefore, be given due consideration and importance while designing any stupa project.

 

 

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

2. Pala art is in a naturalistic style with a great attention to the ornamental detail and certain elegant virtuosity. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on Indiaccrtindia.gov.in

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 the various features of Pala school of art.

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 a brief about the origins of Pala school of art.

Body:

First, write about the detailed features of Pala school of art – Pala style was transmitted chiefly by means of bronze sculptures and palm-leaf paintings, celebrating the Buddha and other divinities.

Next, write about development of naturalistic style among Pala style and attention to detail. Elaborate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

The Pala dynasty ruled from 8th century to 12th century CE in the regions comprising Bihar and Bengal. The development of art which had been in a full-fledged manner during the Mauryas and Guptas was further carried out by Palas. Distinctive achievements of Palas are seen in the arts of architecture, sculpture, terracotta, painting and wall painting.

Body

Characteristics of Pala art:

  • Architecture:
    • Various mahaviharas, Stupas ,chaityas, temples and forts were constructed. Most of the architecture was religious with the first two hundred years dominated by Buddhist art and the last two hundred years by Hindu art.
    • Among the various mahaviharas, Nalanda, vikramashila, somapura, Traikutaka, Devikota, Pandita, Jagaddala vihara are notable. Planned residential buildings for monks were made.
    • Somapura Mahavihara, a World Heritage Site, was built by Dharmapala
    • large number of manuscripts on palm-leaf relating to the Buddhist themes were written and illustrated with the images of Buddhist deities at these centreswhich also had workshops for the casting of bronze images.
    • Somapura mahavihara at Paharpur ,a creation of Dharmapala is one of the largest Buddhist vihara in Indian sub continent ,its architectural plan had influenced the architecture of countries like Myanmar and Indonesia.
  • Temples:
    • The temples are known to express the local vanga style.
    • The ninth century siddheshvara mahadeva temple in Baraker shows a tall curving shikara crowned by a large amalaka and is an example of the early pala style.
    • The rock cave temple at Kahalgaon (9thcentury)shows the gabled vault roof characteristic of the South Indian architecture.
  • Terracotta:
    • Artistic and beautiful forms of terracotta were developed during the pala period. This art was developed for the purpose of decoration. Under this form of art such statues are made on walls which depict scenes from the religious and general life styles.
    • The terracotta plaques recovered from paharpur amply demonstrate the excellence of the art in the pala period.
  • Painting:
    • The earliest examples of miniature painting in India exist in the form of illustrations to the religious texts on Buddhism executed under the Palas of the eastern India .
    • There are two forms of painting manuscripts and wall painting
    • Manuscripts were written on palm leaves .In these paintings scenes of life of Buddha and several god and goddess of Mahayana sects are depicted.
    • The impact of tantricism on these paintings are easily visible.
    • Red,blue,black and white colours are used a primary colours
    • Pala painting is characterized by sinuous line, delicate and nervous lines ,sensuous elegance, linear and decorative accent and subdued tones of colour.
    • It is naturalistic style which resembles the ideal forms of contemporary bronze and stone sculpture and reflects some feeling of classical art of Ajanta with sensuous bias of art of Eastern India.
    • Wall painting has been found in Saradh and Sarai sthal in Nalanda district. At the bottom of the platform made of granite stone flowers of geometric shapes, images of animals and humans are found.
  • Pala sculpture:
    • The Gupta tradition of sculptural art attained a new height under the patronage of Pala rulers.
    • The art incorporated lot of local characteristics in Bengal under the Palas and it continued right up to the end of 12th
    • The sculptures of stones and bronze were constructed in largenumbers mostly in monastic sites of nalanda,Bodh Gaya etc
    • Most of the sculptures drew their inspiration from Buddhism. Apart from Buddha sculptures of gods and goddess of Hindu Dharmalike surya, Vishnu, Ganesh etc were constructed.
    • The finest sculptures include a female bust ,two standing Avalokiteshwara images from Nalanda
    • Buddhist sculptures is characterized by a prominent and elaborately carved black slab and lotus seat frequently supported by lions.
    • Generally only frontal parts of the body have been shown in the sculptures. The front as highly detailed and decorated.
    • Due to influence of tantrism the sculptures of god were given different touches like that of female ,animal etc.
    • Bronze casting was an important feature of pala sculptures.
    • Also present examples of artistic beauty carved out of stone sculptures. These are made of black basalt stones .
    • The pala style is marked by slim and graceful figures, elaborate jewellery and conventional decoration
    • The main features of pala sculptures is their free flowing movement. Almost all figures are of similar sizes and were carved out of grayish or white spotted sandstone.

Conclusion

The Pala art came to a sudden end after the destruction of the Buddhist monasteries at the hands of Muslim invaders in the first half of the 13th century. Some of the monks and artists escaped and fled to Nepal, which helped in reinforcing the existing art traditions there. Ramapala was the last strong Pala ruler. After his death, a rebellion broke out in Kamarupa during his son Kumarapala’s reign. So due to rebellions art was not focussed much.

 

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

3. In the context of Nehru’s “temples of modern India”, discuss their contribution to India’s growth and development since independence. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

As India celebrates 75 years of Independence, Indians will see this as an occasion to recall Jawaharlal Nehru’s immortal speech, “A Tryst with Destiny”, delivered on the night of August 14, 1947, and its haunting poetic expressions — “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India awakes to life and freedom.” For most, that speech and the man who spoke those words symbolised the spirit of a new nation just born. For them, some of the recent attempts to undermine Nehru’s place in history may seem like a minor distraction.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the “temples of modern India” and their contributions.

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 outlining “temples of modern India” as per Nehru.

Body:

First, in detail, mention the rationale behind considering institutions like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), Bhakra-Nangal dam, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the LIC, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, the National Library of India and the National Institute of Design as temples.

Next, write about the contribution of the above in growth and development of the country and substantiate with facts and examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the importance of the above.

Introduction

Temples of modern India was a term coined by India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru while starting the construction of the Bhakra Nangal Dam to describe scientific research institutes, steel plants, power plants, dams being launched in India after independence to jumpstart scientific and industrial progress. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the LIC, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, the National Library of India and the National Institute of Design were envisaged as temples as they would rebuild India and take it to its rightful place in the world.

Body

Contribution to India’s growth and development

  • Nehru’s vision of India was anchored in a set of ideas such as democracy, secularism, inclusive economic growth, free press and non-alignment in international affairs and also in institutions that would lay the foundation for India’s future growth.
    • These institutions touched every kind of economic activity, ranging from agriculture to aviation and space research.
  • Nehru saw these temples occupying the commanding heights of a stable, self-sustaining economy with people’s welfare as their central mission.
  • Nehru’s inclusive vision ensured that these institutions spanned the entire social spectrum. When the IITs were planned, Nehru also established a network of Kendriya Vidyalayas.
    • Along with large projects in steel and petroleum, Nehru saw the importance of promoting small and cottage industries and set up the Khadi and Village Industries Commission.
  • When Bhilai, Durgapur and Rourkela were taking shape as functional townships, the Prime Minister also felt the need for a well-designed, modern city and thus was born Chandigarh. Chandigarh was perhaps India’s first ‘smart city’ when that term was not yet fashionable.
  • Two of these institutions deserve special mention: the Election Commission of India and the Planning Commission. They relate to the fundamentals of the Nehruvian vision: the triumph of democracy along with development.
  • Nehru’s institutions flourished under the management of a group of accomplished persons who shared his idealism and his vision of a modern India.
    • These were people of stature and high learning. They were technocrats, scientists and professionals with impressive records of past achievements.
    • They included Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai, P.C. Mahalanobis, Verghese Kurien, S.S. Bhatnagar, S.Bhagavantam and C.D. Deshmukh.
    • Each of them steered the fortunes of the project under them with high professional standards, laying down benchmarks for the performance of the project and identifying second layers of leadership for the project’s future growth.
  • Many of these institutions, over the years, rose to global standards. Indian Oil became the first Indian company to be listed in the Fortune 100, in 2014. Amul emerged as the country’s best known consumer brand and India became the largest milk-producer in the world.

Conclusion

Prime Minister Nehru’s 17-year rule set the stage for momentum in the Indian economy and his management model became a template for many succeeding Prime Ministers. This was a period which saw seismic shifts in the Indian economy. The Green Revolution which transformed India from a basket case to a grain-exporting nation, the telephone revolution that changed the telephone from being a symbol of elite lifestyle to mass ownership, and the digital revolution which turned India into a global technology hub all played out one after another.

The success of these missions owed a great deal to the Nehruvian model, with several scientists and technocrats playing a central role in these accomplishments. Collectively, these shifts have lifted over 300 million Indians above the poverty line and heralded the arrival of a modern, diversified globally connected economy with a significant digital component.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. The isolated and diverse North-East India continues to witness serious challenges of integration and under development. Unless there is a change in the mindset of policy makers as well as policies responsive to the changing needs of the people, the problems will continue in the region. Analyse. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The integration of Northeast India into mainstream Indian life has been on the national agenda from the very start of India’s journey as an independent nation. The region has always been seen to be somewhat alien and needing assimilation, which found (and finds) reflection in administrative terms too.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues of NE India and ways to overcome them.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of north eastern India.

Body:

In the first part, briefly trace the efforts at the integration of NE India.

Next, write about the challenges with respect to development in NE India – Historical discrimination, violence, lack of rights, lack of accessibility, poverty, crime, tribal insurgency etc. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the measures that are required to overcome the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

India’s North Eastern Region is a rainbow country, known for its diversity. It stretches from the foothills of the Himalayas in the eastern range and is surrounded by Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Nepal and Myanmar. The region is rich in natural resources, covered with dense forests, has the highest rainfall in the country, with large and small river systems nesting the land and is a treasure house of flora and fauna. Marked by diversity in customs, cultures, traditions and languages, it is home to multifarious social, ethnic and linguistic groups.

Body

Efforts towards integration of NE to mainstream India

  • The integration of Northeast India into mainstream Indian life has been on the national agenda from the very start of India’s journey as an independent nation.
  • The region has always been seen to be somewhat alien and needing assimilation, which found (and finds) reflection in administrative terms too.
  • Two such measures, on opposite ends of the spectrum, should characterise this predicament: the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution introduced in 1949 and the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), promulgated in 1958.

Issues hindering the growth of Northeast India

  • Geographical Challenges:
    • Very high rainfall, shifting river courses, poor drainage system and narrow valleys are regularly causing severe floods, erosion, landslides and sand deposition in the North East causing loss of huge areas of valuable agricultural land.
    • Hilly, inaccessible and undulating terrain has led to underdeveloped transport links.
    • Large area of land is under ‘Jhum cultivation’ which leads to large scale deforestation resulting in soil erosion and loss of soil fertility.
  • Disaster Proneness of North East:
    • High rainfall and large river basins of the Brahmaputra and the Barak along with their narrow valleys regularly cause severe floods, erosion, landslides and sand deposition leading to loss of huge areas of valuable agricultural land and thereby reduction of the average size of land holdings in the region.
    • The region is highly prone to Earthquakes and post the great earthquake of intensity of 8.5 in Richter scale of 1950 in Assam, flood and erosion have increased in the state and till date about5000-6000sq.km of land has been lost due to erosion by rivers. This has made lakhs of people landless and homeless in the state.
  • Historical Challenges:
    • Despite the above mentioned challenges, the North-eastern region was at par with rest of the country at independence but post-independence events have retarded the development of the region.
    • Partition of the country: When the major road, rail and river routes connecting North East to the rest of the country suddenly got snapped.
    • The Bangladesh Liberation was of 1971: When crores of people from Bangladesh entered some states of North East as refugees which changed the demographic situation in some state of North-East bordering Bangladesh.
    • Insurgencies: From the end of the seventies of the last century problems of insurgency started in states like Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur, Insurgency affected the present day Nagaland and Mizoram in the fifties and sixties of the last century. Now, of course, due to various actions taken by the Central and State governments, insurgency in this region is no longer a matter of great concern.
  • Infrastructural Factors:
    • NER has about 6 per cent of the national roads and about 13 percent of the national highways. However, their quality is not good due to poor maintenance.
    • The prominent indicators of shortfalls in infrastructure in this region are: increasingly congested roads, power failures, shortage of drinking water etc.
  • Political challenges:
    • Chinese Aggression on Arunachal Pradesh (called NEFA at that time) in 1962, apparently refrain large scale investment from private player in North East.
    • Large scale Migration from Bangladesh led to various socio-economic- political problem
    • The culture of ‘bandhs’ is peculiar problem of NER, widely prevalent in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
    • Three fourth of NER have no proper land records and Individual ownership of land is not well established
  • Social Challenges:
    • Remarkable growth of migration from the North East to different parts of the country mostly in search of education and job opportunities gives big blow to the local society.
    • Drug abuse is a serious problem among youth of North east with more than 30% of its youth being drug abusers.
    • The pandemic of HIV/AIDS, spreading fast in Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram, is also a matter of grave concern.
    • Migration from surrounding areas of NERs (Bangladesh and states of Bihar and Bengal) reduced the average size of land holding to about one hectare.
  • Lack of Social Infrastructure:
    • Inadequate number of polytechnics and higher institutions for engineering, medical and nursing studies etc.
    • Teachers’ Training is poor thereby leading to poor standards of education

Measures needed:

  • Proper Demarcation of Borders
    • There is a need for a legitimate ‘Centre led’ initiative to resolve the border issues.
    • The Centre can decide to maintain the status quo in the region or find a ‘common rationale’ to demarcate the border.
  • People to People Engagement
    • All ethnic majority and minority tribes residing in the region, must be respected and developed.
    • The concept of a ‘shared’ North East Identity could bring the people together. Education can be an effective tool to facilitate people-to-people connect.
  • The Act East Factor
    • Maintaining a peaceful North East is vital for India’s ‘Act East Policy’ as the NorthEast Region is the doorway to the ASEAN regions.
    • All the states gain by being connected to one another and for this peaceful border to ensure ‘free’ movement of people and trade are essential.
  • Empowerment of the people by maximizing self-governance and participatory development throughgrass-roots planning. Such planning will help to evolve development strategy based on the resources, needs and aspirations of the people.
  • Rural development with a focus on improving agricultural productivity and the creation of non-farm avocations and employment.
  • Development of sectors with comparative advantage agro-processing industries, modernization and development of sericulture, investment in manufacturing units based on the resources available in the region,harnessing the large hydroelectric power generation potential and focus on developing services such as tourism that will help to accelerate development and create productive employment opportunities.
  • Capacity developmentwill have to address the issue of imparting skills among the people to enhance their productivity, generating a class of entrepreneurs within the region willing to take risks.
  • Augmenting infrastructure, including rail, road, inland water and air transportation to facilitate a two-way movement of people and goods within the region and outside, communication networks including broadband and wireless connectivity,and harnessing of the vast power generation potential, all of which will open up markets for produce from the region, attract private investment, create greater employment opportunities and expand choices for people of the region.
  • Ensuring adequate flow of resources for public investments in infrastructure, implementing a framework for private participation in augmenting infrastructure and creating an enabling environment for the flow of investments to harness the physical resources of the region for the welfare of the people.

Conclusion

Innovation, Initiatives, Ideas and Implementation–all the four needs to go together. Inclusive growth is possible through improved governance, doing away with the draconian laws and ensuring the local communities are empowered to implement basic services. For this, all the stakeholders need to formulate a comprehensive realistic plan for the overall development of North East.

Value addition

Government Initiatives for NE Region

  • Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER):A Department of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) was established in 2001. It was elevated to a full ministry in 2004.
  • Infrastructure Related Initiatives:
    • Under Bharatmala Pariyojana (BMP),road stretches aggregating to about 5,301 km in NER have been approved for improvement.
    • The North East has been kept as a priority area under RCS-UDAN(to make flying more affordable).
  • Connectivity Projects:Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project(Myanmar) and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor.
  • For Promoting Tourism:Under the Swadesh Darshan Schemeof the Ministry of Tourism, projects worth Rs.1400.03 crore have been sanctioned for the NER in the last five years.
  • Mission Purvodaya:Purvodayain the steel sector is aimed at driving accelerated development of Eastern India through the establishment of an integrated steel hub.
    • The Integrated Steel Hub, encompassing Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Northern Andhra Pradesh, would serve as a torchbearer for socio-economic growth of Eastern India.
  • North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS):In order to promote employment in the North East States, the Government is incentivizing primarily the MSME Sector through this scheme.
  • The National Bamboo Missionhas a special significance for the Northeast.
  • North Eastern Region Vision 2020:The document provides an overarching framework for the development of the NE Region to bring it at par with other developed regions under which different Ministries, including the Ministry of DoNER have undertaken various initiatives.
  • Digital North East Vision 2022:It emphasises leveraging digital technologies to transform lives of people of the north east and enhance the ease of living.

 

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

5. Both India and the EU have been keen to maintain the momentum in their bilateral interactions, despite various challenges. Can the unfulfilled bilateral potential be realised? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu ,Insights on India

Why this question:

While India celebrates its 75th year of Independence, it also celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations with the European Union (EU). A cooperation agreement signed in 1994 took the bilateral relationship beyond trade and economic cooperation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need for great cooperation between India-EU in critical areas and ways to achieve it.

Directive word: 

Comment– here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with brief background of the context of the question.

Body:

Explain first that after limited economic gains from its FTAs with Asian partners, India is reassessing its FTA options. While a good beginning has been made with the UK, India must also renegotiate with the EU—the bloc is very important for India as far as trade relations are concerned, and an FTA with the EU is, thus, based on sound reasoning.

Discuss that FTAs need to be designed in a manner that they enhance complementarities amongst partners and overcome regulatory hurdles that inhibit trade. Account for potential of India –EU trade relations.

Present the challenges before India in realizing this potential.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward and conclude.

 

Introduction

India-EU relationship dates back to 1960s when India was the first country to establish relationship with European economic union which later evolved into common market -European union. For more than a decade, the EU and India partnership had been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. India was acknowledged as a strategic partner in 2004. But seventeen years on there is still no mutually agreed set of clear priorities. The EU-India relationship fails to acknowledge each partner’s individual realities. Today’s changed circumstances provide the two sides with a new set of opportunities to move forward on the long-stalled agenda of stronger ties between India and European Union.

While India celebrates its 75th year of Independence, it also celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations with the European Union (EU). A cooperation agreement signed in 1994 took the bilateral relationship beyond trade and economic cooperation..

Body

Various facets of India-EU bilateral relations:

  • Trade and Investment:
    • The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 12.9% of India’s overall trade. Further the trade in services have almost tripled in last decade.
    • Overall, the EU is the second largest investor in India, with €70 billion of cumulative FDI from April 2000 to March 2017, accounting for almost one quarter of all investments flows into India.
  • EU and India remain close partners in the G20 and have developed a regular macroeconomic dialogue to exchange experience on economic policies and structural reforms.
  • Energy Cooperation:EU – India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • Research and Development:India, participates in international ITER fusion. India also participates in research and innovation funding programme ‘Horizon 2020’
  • Environment and Water:The EU and India also cooperate closely on the Indian Clean Ganga initiative and deal with other water-related challenges in coordinated manner.
  • Migration and mobility:The EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) is a fundamental cooperation agreement between India and EU.
  • Development cooperation:Over €150 million worth of projects are currently ongoing in India.

India and the EU have been keen to maintain the momentum in their bilateral interactions due to the opportunities

  • The EU wants to pivot away from China. It recently signed a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China, which has drawn a lot of flak and its ratification has now been suspended because of diplomatic tensions.
  • The European Parliament remains overwhelmingly opposed to this deal after China imposed sanctions on some of its members, in response to the EU imposing sanctions against China for its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region.
  • With the EU being India’s largest trading partner and the second-largest export destination, the economic logic of strong India-EU economic relations is self-evident.
  • The virtual summit saw India and the EU launching an ambitious “connectivity partnership” in digital, energy, transport, and people-to-people sectors, enabling the two to pursue sustainable joint projects in regions spanning from Africa, Central Asia to the wider Indo-Pacific.
  • Exports to EU: India has an untapped export potential of $39.9 billion in the EU and Western Europe. The top products with export potential include apparel, gems and jewellery, chemicals, machinery, automobile, pharmaceuticals and plastic.
  • India benefits from tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for several of these products.
  • In fact, India is among the major beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP, with exports under the GSP valued at nearly $19.4 billion in 2019, accounting for nearly 37% of India’s merchandise exports to the EU.
  • New emerging world order after COVID-19:As EU seeks to move away from a global supply chain that is overly dependent on China, India can emerge as its most natural ally.
  • There is a significant untapped potential to expand India-EU bilateral trade relation through an FTA.
  • The FTA will deliver on enhancing India’s market access in key services.
  • For this to happen, regulatory barriers in cross-border supply as well as provision of services through temporary movement of professionals will need to be addressed.

Concerns in India-EU ties

  • Stalled EU-India BTIA: It is being negotiated since 2007 and both sides have major differences on crucial issues such as: –
    • EU’s demands: significant duty cuts in automobiles, tax reduction on wines, spirits etc, a strong intellectual property regime, relaxation in India’s data localisation norms, protection to all its items with Geographical Indication etc.
    • India’s demands: Data secure’ status (important for India’s IT sector); Ease norms on temporary movement of skilled workers, relaxation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) norms etc.
  • Trade imbalance: India accounts for only 1.9% of EU total trade in goods in 2019, well behind China (13.8%). Trade imbalance is expected to further increase with ratification of the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement, which will make Indian exports less competitive.
  • India’s perception of EU:It views EU primarily as a trade bloc, preferring bilateral partnerships with Member States for all political and security matters. This is evident from lack of substantive agreements on matters such as regional security and connectivity.
  • Brexit:It is unclear how U.K.’s withdrawal from EU will affect India’s relation with EU as whole.
  • Human Rights concerns of EU: The European Parliament was critical of both the Indian government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Way Forward

  • To translate their common values into common action, EU and India in can work in third countries to consolidate democratic processes and build capacities of transitioning regimes through strengthening electoral and parliamentary institutions.
  • EU can collaborate with India to facilitate connectivity and infrastructure projects in third countries, particularly smaller states in South Asia that often fall prey to power politics and fiscal instability resulting from China’s loans and political influence as part of its BRI.
  • Thus, as highlighted by EU strategy on India, adopted in 2018, India EU should take their relations beyond “trade lens”, recognizing their important geopolitical, strategic convergence.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. What is a carbon market? Evaluate the potential to have a carbon market framework in India to incentivize carbon emission reduction and fight climate change.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

This monsoon session of Parliament concluded with the passing of the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022) by the Lok Sabha. Among other things, the bill proposes a momentous carbon market framework in India to incentivize carbon emission reduction

Key Demand of the question:

To write about carbon market and India’s potential in using to fight climate change.

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 defining carbon market.

Body:

In the first part, in detail, write about the structure and functioning of carbon market and its brief history.

Next, write about the potential of carbon markets in reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. Write the ways in which it would help. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the challenges and limitations associated with carbon markets in India. Mention ways to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

Carbon markets allow for buying and selling of carbon emissions with the objective of reducing global emissions. Carbon markets existed under the Kyoto Protocol, which is being replaced by the Paris Agreement in 2020. Carbon Markets can potentially deliver emissions reductions over and above what countries are doing on their own.

Body

About carbon market

  • Carbon Markets and Carbon Credits are components of emissions trading, a market-based approach to to reduce the concentration of Greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. It works by providing economic incentives for reducing the emissions of the designated pollutants. A carbon market allows investors and corporations to trade both carbon credits and carbon offsets simultaneously.
  • Carbon credits (or allowances) work like permission slips for emissions.
    • When a company buys a carbon credit, they gain permission to generate more CO2 emissions.
    • One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided.
  • Credits are measured against ‘benchmarks’ or allowed GHG emissions. If emissions are below the allowed limit, the emitter earns carbon credits (reducing 1 tonne of CO2 earns 1 carbon credit).
    • If emissions are above the allowed limit, the emitter must buy carbon credits from those who have excess credits.
    • Thus, crossing the emissions limit imposes a cost (amount spent on purchase of carbon credits) on the emitter. The idea is that this cost will force the emitters to be more efficient and reduce emission.

 

Potential to have carbon market framework In India

  • First, it will help in mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change by reducing the GHG emissions.
  • Second, there are multiple co-benefits of offset projects such as: ecosystem management, forest preservation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy generation in third-world countries, etc.
  • Third, the voluntary carbon market for offsets is smaller than the compliance market, but expected to grow much bigger in the coming years. It’s open to individuals, companies, and other organizations that want to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint, but are not necessarily required to by law.
  • Fourth, consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of carbon emissions. Consequently, they’re increasingly critical of companies that don’t take climate change seriously. By contributing to carbon offset projects, companies signal to consumers and investors that they’re paying more than just lip service to combat climate change.
  • Fifth, it opens an additional revenue stream for environmentally beneficial businesses. For instance, Tesla, the electric car maker, sold carbon credits to legacy car manufacturers to the tune of $518 million in just the first quarter of 2021.

Challenges with carbon market

  • There are concerns regarding the effectiveness of carbon markets in curbing emissions.
    • Some companies simply buy credits without making any effort to reduce emissions themselves. It is cheaper for them to buy carbon credit than to invest in emission reducing technologies
  • The issue of old carbon credits (certified carbon emissions, or CERs), issued under — the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol — are still valid.
    • Counting them as valid would slow down climate action because those who are under commitments to reducing emissions would just buy the CERs and call it a done deal.
    • However, declaring them invalid would disappoint all those entities that were given the credits.
  • Phenomenon of ‘double counting’ exists. If an emission reduction takes place in one country and another entity in another country buys the carbon credits, only one of the two countries should be logically allowed to use the activity against its own commitments — not both.
  • Issues related to a fee levied on each carbon trading transaction for a fund to help poor countries adapt to the vagaries of the climate change.
  • Buying carbon credits can deviate the rich nations from the path of reducing emissions. They can simply continue to emit and buy cheap carbon credits from developing countries.
  • It is difficult to establish the amount of carbon reduced by offset projects (like afforestation or wind energy project). The complexity is in establishing baseline emissions (Emissions baseline represents what would happen if your project did not occur i.e., the emissions in the absence of the project).
    • This makes it difficult to verify emission reductions and assigning carbon credits.
  • India’s own PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) Scheme has failed to achieve meaningful emissions reduction. According to an analysis by the Center for Science and Environment, the emission reduction under the scheme has been only 1.57% and 1.44% over the two cycles.

Conclusion

The establishment of a domestic carbon market is a progressive step. However, the actual benefit will depend upon the effectiveness of the market. For this, the Government must ensure that proper regulations are established. Moreover, there must be periodic assessment of its functioning and corrective steps its necessary. Climate Change is real and imminent, Government must take all possible steps to mitigate the challenges.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity;

7. Discuss the importance of Probity in public projects, which seeks to reduce vulnerabilities to corruption in Public Private Partnership projects (PPP). (150 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of probity in public procurement and its role in reducing corruption.

Directive:

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 defining probity.

Body:

First, write about the need of Probity in Public Procurement and how it will affect the current challenges with respect to public projects. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the steps to ensure probity in PPP projects.

Conclusion:

Complete by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Probity can be defined as complete and confirmed integrity, uprightness and honesty. Upholding the highest standards of probity and integrity enables organisations to safeguard procurement activities to ensure those activities and processes are robust and can withstand scrutiny.

Body

Probity is a fundamental part of every procurement project and activity. As probity issues can arise at any stage of a procurement activity, probity needs to be anticipated as early as possible when planning a procurement (pre-procurement) and must be considered throughout the entire procurement lifecycle including category management, early market engagement, market analysis, sourcing and the entire contract phase.

Importance of Probity in public projects

  • Legitimacy of the system
    • Foremost, it helps build up the legitimacy of the system, i.e. the state.
    • It builds trusts in the institutions of the state and a belief that the actions of the state will be for welfare of the beneficiaries.
  • It protects you from legal and financial risk
    • With an unfair tender process comes the potential for legal and financial risk.
    • For Government procurement in particular, probity requires that all parties have a fair opportunity at being awarded contracts.
    • If there is evidence that one supplier has been favoured for reasons unrelated to the evaluation criteria, there’s potential for legal action to be taken against the awarding party.
    • Running a fair tender in accordance with probity ensures that risks of this kind are minimised as much as possible.
  • It promotes and supports a healthy and competitive marketplace
    • When an industry is free from corruption and all suppliers are on equal footing in a tender process, it makes a big difference to the industry.
    • When the industry is healthy, it improves the quality and number of tender responses through greater competition.
  • It builds trust with public
    • It helps address nepotism, Favouritism, Political partisanship.
    • Public reposes more trust in governance and therefore it facilitates participatory governance.
    • It leads to avoidance of sub-optimal outcomes, corruption and poor perception
  • To serve the constitutional cause
    • Probity in Governance is required to serve the motto of Constitution. i.e. to provide Social, Political and economic justice to all. It enhances faith in the governance.
  • It’s the right thing to do
    • Integrity in public procurement shouldn’t just be something you pursue because it benefits you in the long run.
    • Operating fair and ethical tenders is important simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Measures to reduce corruption in PPPs

  • Enactment of the Public Procurement Bill 2012, followed by issuing and notifying the PPP Rules in their current form
  • Training is required for both private sector and government sector officials. This would bring  about  greater  understanding  of  the  workings  of  the  private  and  government
  • Awareness and training on probity related issues in procurement must also be included  in  curriculum  for  technical  colleges  and
  • Clarity into  consultant  liabilities  needs  to  be  established  in  the  context  of  PPP  projects,  given  the  need  to  hold  them  accountable  for  project
  • There is  a  greater  need for priority to be given for asset declaration requirements of all officials involved in procurement.
  • There is  a  need  for  a  strong  whistleblower  law  and  equally  for  witnesses  and  victims  to enhance the existing protection and grievance redressal mechanisms.
  • Clauses related  to  closure  of  debarment  period  of  contractors  and  entities  with  convictions  of  corruption  and  malpractices  in  procurement,  especially  in  PPP  scenarios
  • For instance, the necessity for defaulting bidders to show evidence of establishing an integrity mechanism in place before they are allowed to bid again
  • Strengthening monitoring mechanism- Implementation of a fraud risk register as a potential warning or fraud indicator system.
  • It would  be  useful  to  build  a  mechanism  for  public  participation,  providing  information  regarding  contract  management  in  the  public  domain,  ensuring  access  to  records  for  stakeholders  and  civil  society  and  the  public  for  a  reasonable  number  of
  • E-procurement is an important measure to enhance transparency in a procurement process but must not be mistaken for the only one.

Conclusion

It is a shared belief that the adoption of standards like “accountability”, “transparency” and “responsiveness” will lead to clean and efficient governance. However, standards do not, by themselves, ensure ethical behaviour: which requires a robust culture of integrity and probity in public life. The crux of ethical behaviour does not lie only in standards, but in their adoption in action and in issuing sanctions against their violation.


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