Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 January 2023

 

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


General Studies – 1


 

1. Subhas Chandra Bose’s belief in uncompromising anti-imperialism and undiluted socialism is still very much relevant in the present day. Discuss.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Introduction

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist, whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India. Bose viewed freedom not only in terms of political self-rule but also freedom from socio-economic inequalities, casteism, intolerance etc. Bose held steadfast to a vision of large scale industrialisation and a politics devoid of irrationality and religiosity.

There is an element of intrigue that trails Subhas Chandra Bose’s persona, his life, disappearance and death. He was a dynamic personality of India’s freedom movement who inspired hundreds of Indians to join the struggle.

Body

Contribution to Indian National Movement:

  • Indian National Army:
    • Also known as ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ in 1943 was revived and was initially formed in 1942 by Rash Behari Bose.
    • The assault by the INA was an important factor that eventually contributed to the British leaving India.
  • The idea of Economic Planning:
    • He espoused concrete economic planning and showed the way himself.
  • Women Empowerment:
    • Bose believed that women were equals of men, and should therefore be likewise prepared to fight and sacrifice for India’s liberation.
    • Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s he had campaigned in India to bring women more fully into the freedom struggle of the nation.
    • A women’s regiment of Azad Hind Faujwas formed, which was under the command of Captain Lakshmi. It was called the Rani Jhansi regiment.
  • Strong Leadership: 
    • The Azad Hind Fauj became the symbol of unity and heroism to the people of India. Bose motivated the troops with his fiery speeches.
    • His famous quote is, “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!
  • Mass mobilisation:
    • Subhash Chandra Bose played an important role in mass mobilisation and rousing feeling of independence among them.
  • Realising that manpower was India’s greatest resource, he proclaimed that all Indians should actively participate in the fight for freedom.
  • With the formation of provincial government of Azad Hind, he appealed directly for total mobilisation to the mass of Indians.
  • Youth leadership:
  • Bose was also deeply committed to the youth movement. Convinced that young people were by nature idealistic, restless and open to new ideas, Bose worked with and put efforts to the new Youth Leagues that were formed in a number of provinces during the 1920’s.
  • He motivated youth to join the cause of Indian freedom struggle.
  • Bose believed that India’s liberation would be achieved only through the efforts and sacrifices of the conscious younger generation.

His legacy as message for today’s India

  • He was non-communal and deeply secular. He appointed many Muslims to senior positions in the Indian National Army (INA).
  • A much needed value for a peaceful India.
  • Despite serious political differenceswith Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, he accorded them a lot of respect.
  • He was the first who referred to Gandhi as Father of the Nation, in a radio speech, and also named two of the four INA regiments by the name of Gandhi and Nehru.
  • A leaf can be drawn from this and inculcated with politicians in contemporary India.
  • He was attracted by the ideology of Marxismand his ambition for post-independent Indian society was strongly egalitarian.
  • He also believed in gender equality which is needed to empower women – about 50% of our population.
  • He was attracted to military discipline, a much needed value for today’s youth of India.

Conclusion

Subhash Chandra Bose was a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle. He was not only an efficient leader but played an important role in the freedom struggle. He is remembered for his active and aggressive role in Indian freedom struggle. His style of leadership was not only attractive but was a motivating factor for many to take up the cause for Indian freedom struggle.

 

2. The continental System designed by Napoleon to paralyze Great Britain through the destruction of British commerce, proved disastrous for Napoleon. Examine.

Reference: Insights on India

Introduction

Continental System, in the Napoleonic wars, the blockade designed by Napoleon to paralyze Great Britain through the destruction of British commerce. The decrees of Berlin and Milan proclaimed a blockade: neutrals and French allies were not to trade with the British. However, it proved largely ineffective and eventually led to Napoleon’s fall.

Napoleon was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars.

Body

The Continental System had some success in hurting British trade and economic interests. By some estimates, British trade declined by as much as fifty percent. It also benefited some parts of the French manufacturing sector by acting essentially as a protective tariff, making British imports unavailable or unaffordable in France and its territories. This stimulated the growth of some local manufacturing and many French capitalists and industrialists made large profits as a result of the embargo on British goods.

Flaws in the Continental System

  • It killed many trade based industries and deeply hurt the economies of major French ports such as Marseilles. Moreover, the Continental System could not be strictly enforced.
  • It was an impossible scheme. Every country was not expected to bear the innumerable stresses by following this scheme.
  • French navy was not so powerful to control the vast sea.
  • Most of the European countries including France depended British goods and they could not possibly live without these goods. But after the supply of these articles was stopped, people had to face great difficulties and they began to oppose this scheme vehemently. In 1807 Napoleon himself purchased fifty thousand overcoats from Great Britain through Holland at the time of the battle of Eyleau.
  • The smuggling of goods became widespread in the entire Europe and Napoleon could not check this black marketing due to his weak navy.
  • Portugal and Spain also did not join this scheme and extended their cooperation to England.

Conclusion

Napoleon’s ambition to implement the continental system dragged him to the peninsular war which he called “an ulcer that destroyed me”. The Portuguese and Spaniards turned and united against him at the battle of Trafalgar. This defeat proved to the world that Napoleon could be defeated, over 20,000 of his soldiers surrendered and it also weakened Napoleon’s military strength. This led to the downfall of Napoleon in 1815 . Thus, the continental system entangled Napoleon into disastrous Moscow campaign which was the turning point in his military and political career in France and Europe.

 


General Studies – 2


 

3. The influence of civil society organisations, popularly known as NGOs, is increasing. However, their credibility seems to be declining. Examine the issues with respect to the functioning of civil society organisations.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Introduction

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) are legally constituted organizations, operates independently from the government and are generally considered to be “non-state, non-profit oriented groups who pursue purposes of public interest”. The primary objective of NGOs is to provide social justice, development and human rights. NGOs are generally funded totally or partly by governments and they maintain their non-governmental status by excluding government representatives from membership in the organization.

India hosting Civil Society 20 is important because the authentic civil society concept in the country is intertwined with the spirit of voluntarism.

Body

India has nearly 3.4 million NGOs, working in a variety of fields ranging from disaster relief to advocacy for marginalised and disadvantaged communities. There the role and responsibilities are immense in developing country like India

Role of NGOs:

  • Protection of Rights:
    • They are playing a protective role by seeing that the tribal rights are safeguarded. Greenpeace is one such organization.
    • Implementation of PESA act to empower gram Sabha to safeguard tribal rights and culture.
    • Implementation of forest right act 2006 to ensure individual and community rights for tribals over forest and forest produce
    • Fighting on land issues, restoration of land rights and Fighting against injustice. E.g.: Dongria Konds’ fight for land in the Niyamgiri hills.
  • Education:
    • They have helped facilitate free boarding and lodging to the Tribal children for education
    • Computer centres were also being established by various NGO’s such as Kothari institute.
    • These institutions are directing their energies for socio-economic development of tribes to bring them into fruitful channels of development
  • Health and Medicine:
    • NGOs have contributed in a positive note to the development of tribal health and in the protection of their indigenous knowledge base which is either ignored or exploited.
    • Tribals have a profound knowledge of the flora and fauna, the appropriate plant species with medical importance, their location, the parts to be used, time of collection, preparation and administration of the same.
    • Their knowledge of the ethno-medicine is very important   for   their
    • Provision of food: Nutrition programmes and Immunization drives against deadly diseases
  • Environmental Conservation:
    • Protection of sacred groves, water bodies etc. which hold cultural significance for tribal population.
    • Fights against construction of dams, roads, industries in the Eco-Sensitive Zones which can affect the ecosystem.
  • Livelihood enhancement:
    • Self-employment by Guidance on self-occupation, Handicraft development etc.
    • To overcome the debt trap, several NGO have formed Self-help Groups (SHG’s), which pool money collected from tribals and provide low interest loans to them.
    • Providing market access to the Minor Forest Produce collected by tribals and the products created by them.
    • This helps reduce the distress migration to cities in search of work.
  • Awareness Generation:
    • The NGOs create awareness among the tribals by demonstrating the conservation and preservation of the forest and its resources.
    • They use the audio-visual aids for creating a lasting impression and campaign for ensuring the promotion of important herbal plants in kitchen-garden and nurseries.
  • Inclusive Development:
    • Activities related with Women’s development: Formation of Women’s groups, Saving group of women, training of self-employment, Women’s Co-operative Society, Income generation for women, Women’s employment, etc.
    • Youth development activities: Formation of Youth groups.

Issues involved in NGO functioning:

  • Misappropriation of funds: Many NGOs don’t have sophisticated finance and legal teams, nor do they have the funds to conduct audits.
  • The issue of foreign funding: According to government data a total of 3,068 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) received foreign funding above Rs. 22,000 Cr in 2014-15. It is often said that foreign-funded NGOs tries to propagate the foreign propaganda to stall developmental projects. Example: Kudankulam Protest.
  • Non-accountable, non-transparent undemocratic functioning: CBI records filed in the Supreme Court show that only 10% of the total registered NGOs under the Societies Registration Act file annual financial statements.
  • Money Laundering: Corrupt or unscrupulous NGOs that receive foreign funds may serve as conduits for money laundering.
  • Accreditation remains a big challenge as it is very difficult to distinguish whether an organization wants to work for the cause or has been set up only for the purpose of receiving government grants.
  • Over dependence on funds from the government dilutes the willingness of NGOs to speak out against the government.
  • NGOs are often seen as encroaching on centuries-old tradition and culture of the people, and lead to mass protest at times. Ban of Jallikattu, after the PIL by PETA is one such example

Way Forward:

  • A National Accreditation Council consisting of academicians, activist, retired bureaucrats should be made to ensure compliance by NGOs.
  • There should be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds.
  • An amended FCRA was enacted under the UPA government in 2010. The law was amended again by the current government in 2020, giving the government tighter control and scrutiny over the receipt and utilisation of foreign funds by NGOs.
  • A regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary organizations is the need of the hour.
  • Citizens today are keen to play an active role in processes that shape their lives and it is important that their participation in democracy go beyond the ritual of voting and should include promotion of social justice, gender equity, inclusion etc.
  • The government should frame guidelines for their accreditation, the manner in which these organizations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.
  • Avoid tussle between Home Ministry and Finance Ministry by bringing the regulation of NGOs under one head.
  • General Financial Rules, 2005 have mandated a regulatory mechanism for the NGOs and a comprehensive law in line with these rules should be framed in no time.

Conclusion:

NGOs, Pressure groups and CSOs form the backbone of democracy. Democracy does not just revolve around elections but how rights of the citizens are protected and are allowed to hold power holders accountable. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realised through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.

 


General Studies – 3


 

4. The environmental challenges posed by noise adversely effects the public health, which range from mild and temporary distress to severe and chronic physical impairment as well as impacting the wildlife ecosystem. Examine.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Introduction

Noise pollution is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms. According to the World Health Organization, noise above 65 decibels (dB) is defined as noise pollution. To be precise, noise becomes harmful when it exceeds 75 decibels (dB) and is painful above 120 dB.

A recent report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that  a subset of 61 cities and the range of dB (decibel) levels that have been measured. Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Asansol and Moradabad are the five Indian cities mentioned in this list and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh was shown as having a dB range from 29 to 114. At a maximum value of 114, it was the second-most-noisiest city in the list.

Body

Impact on Human health

  • Hypertensionis, in this case, a direct result of noise pollution caused elevated blood levels for a longer period of time.
  • Hearing losscan be directly caused by noise pollution, whether listening to loud music in your headphones or being exposed to loud drilling noises at work, heavy air or land traffic, or separate incidents in which noise levels reach dangerous intervals, such as around140 dB for adult or 120 dB for children.
  • Sleep disturbancesare usually caused by constant air or land traffic at night, and they are a serious condition in that they can affect everyday performance and lead to serious diseases.
  • Child development. Children appear to be more sensitive to noise pollution, and a number of noise-pollution-related diseases and dysfunctions are known to affect children, from hearing impairment to psychological and physical effects. Also, children who regularly use music players at high volumes are at risk of developing hearing dysfunctions. In 2001, it was estimated that 12.5% of American children between the ages of 6 to 19 years had impaired hearing in one or both ears
  • Various cardiovascular dysfunctions. Elevated blood pressure caused by noise pollution, especially during the night, can lead to various cardiovascular diseases.
  • Dementiaisn’t necessarily caused by noise pollution, but its onset can be favored or compounded by noise pollution.
  • Psychological dysfunctionsand noise annoyance. Noise annoyance is, in fact, a recognized name for an emotional reaction that can have an immediate impact.

Impact on Environment

  • Our oceans are no longer quiet. Thousands of oil drills, sonars, seismic survey devices, coastal recreational watercraft and shipping vessels are now populating our waters, and that is a serious cause of noise pollution for marine life.
  • Whales are among the most affected, as their hearing helps them orient themselves, feed and communicate.
  • Noise pollution thus interferes with cetaceans’ (whales and dolphins) feeding habits, reproductive patterns and migration routes, and can even cause hemorrhage and death.
  • Other than marine life, land animals are also affected by noise pollution in the form of traffic, firecrackers etc., and birds are especially affected by the increased air traffic.
  • Noise from large commercial ships, military sonars or offshore drilling can severely impact the well-being of dolphins.

Steps to check noise pollution

  • International bodies like the WHO agree that awareness of noise pollution is essential to beat this invisible enemy.
  • For example: avoid very noisy leisure activities, opt for alternatives means of transport such as bicycles or electric vehicles over taking the car, do your housework at recommended times, insulate homes with noise-absorbing materials, etc.
  • Educating the younger generation is also an essential aspect of environmental education.
  • Governments can also take measures to ensure correct noise managementand reduce noise pollution.
  • For example: protecting certain areas — parts of the countryside, areas of natural interest, city parks, etc. — from noise, establishing regulations that include preventive and corrective measures —
  • mandatory separation between residential zones and sources of noise like airports, fines for exceeding noise limits, etc.,
  • installing noise insulation in new buildings, creating pedestrian areas where traffic is only allowed to enter to offload goods at certain times.
  • replacing traditional asphalt with more efficient options that can reduce traffic noise by up to 3 dB, among others.

Conclusion

Although noise pollution may seem harmless, it, in fact, has far-reaching consequences. The adverse effects on the health of the environment are quite severe. Not only is the local wildlife affected by pollution but humans also face a number of problems due to it.

 

5. Technology can never exist in isolation; it has to exist within social realities. In the light of the above statement, examine as to how the fourth industrial revolution is shaping the economy and society in the country.

Reference: Down to Earth , Insights on India

Introduction

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is a term that describes present technological age. It is the fourth industrial era since the inception of the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. The key elements of the fourth revolution are the fusion of technologies ranging from the physical, digital to biological spheres.

 

Body

As described by the founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, “the fourth industrial revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.

Characteristics of IR 4.0:

  • It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
  • It brings together digital technology and the physical world to create a new range of products and services.
  • The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited.
  • And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
  • The revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace and it is disrupting almost every industry in every country.

Possible Impact of IR4.0 on Indian Economy:

  • For India, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings tremendous opportunities to leapfrog many stages of development, hastening its journey towards becoming a developed economy.
  • It can play a major role in alleviating poverty.
  • Better and low-cost health care can be achieved through the implementation of AI-driven diagnostics, personalized treatment, early identification of potential pandemics, and imaging diagnostics, among others.
  • Enhancing farmer’s income by providing them with the latest technologies, improvement in crop yield through real-time advisory, advanced detection of pest attacks, and prediction of crop prices to inform sowing practices.
  • It will strengthen infrastructure and improve connectivity to the very last village.
  • Artificial intelligence can be used to empower and enable specially-abled people.
  • It will improve ease of living and ease of doing business using smart technologies.
  • Recently, India has announced her drone policy, which will play an important role in security, traffic and mapping.
  • Increased automation means more efficient products and processes, faster growth
  • It gives a boost for small scale industries as production gets automatic and cheap
  • India provides a potentially huge market access.
  • There is the very appealing demographic dividend with Indian youth representing approximately 20% of the global workforce by 2020. With more than 50 per cent of its population is under the age of 27, India can play a pivotal role in shaping the global fourth Industrial revolution in a responsible, scalable and inclusive manner.
  • There is a rising middle class
  • India is expected to become the fifth largest consumer market in two decades. Within this context, any form of consumption, entrepreneurship, startup or industry, can be viewed as a scaling opportunity.
  • India also has a robust start-up scene, which reportedly has more firms than anywhere else in the world except for the US and the United Kingdom (UK).
  • With one of the youngest labour forces in the world, a sizeable technical aptitude, the second largest number of internet users on mobile devices and the second largest English speaking population, India is well positioned to enhance its global leadership in a post fourth industrial revolution era.

Impact on Society

  • In his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab posits that the revolution has a significant impact on human life and society.
  • For instance, Schwab predicts that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change the way people identify themselves, as well as people’s sense of privacy and consumption patterns.
  • On a larger scale, Davis highlights three major societal implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: inequality, security, and identity.
  • For instance, the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to increase unemployment may drive economic inequality in society.
  • Davis also emphasizes that increasing inequality results in security concerns for citizens, in the form of segregation and social unrest.
  • The growing use of the Internet of Things and cloud technology has also led to issues of privacy and security of individuals.
  • Schwab predicts that issues involving loss of control over personal data will only intensify as the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues.

Challenges posed by IR 4.0:

  • Stiff competition from other countries, high unemployment levels and high incidences of poverty etc.
  • Revolution is likely to increase inequality in India as the spread of machines increases markets and disrupts labour markets.
  • Inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • The largest beneficiaries of innovation tend to be the providers of intellectual and physical capital the innovators, shareholders, and investors which explains the rising gap in wealth between those dependent on capital versus labour.
  • As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labour.
  • With this revolution, it is also possible that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production. This will give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.

Way forward

  • Governments, businesses and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massive upskilling of the workforce.
  • India needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on scale, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and create more employment opportunities than what new and disruptive technologies take away.
  • There is a need for good quality education to make India’s youth a productive asset.
  • Access to finance commensurate with maturity of the business model and beginning stage of the start-up lifecycle is extremely important to scale innovations.
  • Corporates will have a key role in championing this on-going movement, leveraging the ART Model – Alliances, Relationships enabled through Technology.

Conclusion

Industrial Revolution that first began in Great Britain and later in United States (after end of Civil War) has helped nations in developing faster and easier means of mass production. It has transformed lives of people in many ways over about 250 years. India is also catching up with focussing on Industrial Revolution 4.0. Development of new technologies in this era can help the nations in many ways if these technologies are used effectively for the welfare of mankind.

 

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):


General Studies – 1


 

6. Selection of women officers for command postings in the rank of Colonel, which has so far been the domain of male officers is the logical next step after the Army granted Permanent Commission to women officers on a par with their male counterparts. Discuss.

Reference: The Hindu

Introduction

As many as 108 women officers in the Army are set to be cleared for the rank of Colonel (selection grade) by January 22 by a special selection board, which will make them eligible to command units and troops in their respective arms and services for the first time.

This flows from the Supreme Court judgment in 2021 upholding an earlier judgement granting permanent commission as well as command postings to women officers in all arms and services other than combat.

Body

Background

  • Women were being kept out of command posts on the reasoning that the largely rank and file will have problems with women as commanding officers.
  • Thus, changes have to take place in the culture, norms, and values of not only the rank and file of the Army but also that of society at large.
  • The responsibility to usher these changes lies with the senior military and political leadership.
  • The United States, Israel, North Korea, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and Canada are among the global militaries that employ women in front-line combat positions.

 

Attempts at reform and grant of Permanent Commission

  • Induction of women: The Indian Military Nursing Services originated in 1888 and women were given an opportunity to serve in the Armed Forces. The nurses of the Indian Army first served with distinction in World War I. Formation of Women’s Auxiliary Corps allowed them to serve in primarily non-combatant roles like communications, accounting, administration etc. The opportunities for women officers were little.
  • Restriction on women to join army: After Independence, the participation of women in the Armed Forces remained limited. The Acts governing the Armed Forces restricted the role of women e.g., Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950; Section 12 of the Air Force Act, 1950; and Section 9(2) of the Navy Act, 1957 explicitly make women ineligible to participate in the respective services except in such bodies/departments/corps as notified by the Union Government.
  • Limited role: In 1991-92, the Government issued notifications regarding the role of women in the Armed Forces.
    • The roles were limited e.g., women were allowed to serve only in Logistics, Law and Education roles within the Indian Navy.
    • Similarly the roles notified in the Indian Army were support roles (rather than core) like the Army Postal Service, Army Education Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Army Service Corps (Food Scientists and Catering Officers) etc.
  • Short Service commission: Even in these limited roles, Women were limited only to the Short Service Commission (initially for 5 years only, later extended to 10+4 system). After completion of 14 years, women were asked to leave while eligible male officers were granted Permanent Commission.
    • The discriminatory provision led to numerous litigations.
  • Permanent commission: In 2008, while litigations were sub judice, the Union Government granted a chance of obtaining a PC in the Armed Forces on a restricted basis. There were two major restrictions:
    • (a) The policy was prospective (not retrospective) i.e., women will be offered Permanent Commission only after September 2008;
    • (b) Permanent Commission will be offered only to specific cadres and branches (and not universal PC).
  • Judicary’s role: The Judiciary played a proactive role in ensuring permanent commission. The Indian Air Force was first among the three services to grant PC to SSC women officers post the Delhi High Court Judgment in Jasmine Kaur vs. Union of India WP (C) 8492/2009 in favour of granting PC to women officers.
    • Similarly in the Secretary, Ministry Of Defence vs Babita Puniya (2020) case, the Supreme Court granted equal rights to women with respect to Permanent Commission. The SC held that all the women officers presently on SSC service are eligible to PCs.
    • All the choices of specialization shall be available to the women officers at the time of opting for the grant in PCs, on the same terms as their male counterparts.
    • All the women officers who are eligible and granted PCs through SSC should be entitled to all consequential perks including pension, promotion, and financial incentives.
    • The SC also noted that although Article 33 of the Indian Constitution did allow for restrictions on Fundamental Rights in the Armed Forces, it is also clearly mentioned that it could be restricted only to the extent that it was necessary to ensure the proper discharge of duty and maintenance of discipline. Hence, denial of PC to women is violative of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14.

 

Conclusion

The Supreme Court’s Judgment in 2020 was only the first step in a long journey towards ensuring equal opportunity to women in the armed forces. The debate and legal battles, so far, have been based on gender parity and not on ethical evaluation of the performance of women. The Supreme Court judgments were more driven by Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution than by merit per se. Women aspirants and serving officers should also step up their resolve to meet the exacting physical, psychological and performance standards, and the conditions of service. Armed Forces should also reform their policies to select the best talent for the role irrespective of the gender.

 


General Studies – 2


 

7. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 has been effective in addressing offences of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children However, there are certain imperfections in the act that needs ironing out. Analyse.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Introduction

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development led the introduction of the POCSO Act in 2012.

The Act was designed to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography offences, as well as to provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offences. The Act was amended in 2019 for enhancing the punishments for specific offences in order to deter abusers and ensure a dignified childhood.

 

Body

Salient features

  • A gender-neutral law: The POCSO Act establishes a gender-neutral tone for the legal framework available to child sexual abuse victims by defining a child as “any person” under the age of 18.
  • Not reporting abuse is an offence: Any person (except children) in charge of an institution who fails to report the commission of a sexual offence relating to a subordinate is liable to be punished.
  • No time limit for reporting abuse: A victim can report an offence at any time, even a number of years after the abuse has been committed.
  • Maintaining confidentiality of the victim’s identity: The Act prohibits disclosure of the victim’s identity in any form of media, except when permitted by the special courts established under the act.
  • New obligations under the POCSO Rules 2020:
    • Any institution housing children or coming in regular contact is required to conduct a periodic police verification and background check of every employee.
    • Such an institution must impart regular training to sensitise its employees on child safety and protection.
    • The institution has to adopt a child protection policy based on the principle of zero tolerance for violence against children.

Concerns

  • Despite the existence of such comprehensive child sexual abuse law, the scale of such abuse is staggering.
    • According to a recent survey, one in every two children is a victim of sexual abuse in India.
    • Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, the perpetrators are known to the victim, causing the victim to be hesitant to approach authorities for redress.
    • Incidents of child abuse have also risen exponentially since the Covid-19 pandemic, with the emergence of new forms of cybercrime.
  • The general level of awareness or knowledge on the part of minor girls and boys of the POCSO Act remains severely inadequate in the country.
    • Child marriage is common among certain tribal groups in the country, resulting in the criminalisation of 17-18 years old youths due to a lack of knowledge of the POCSO Act.
  • There is no time-bound investigation in the POCSO cases and the trials generally continue for many months. This provides the accused more than enough time to coerce and intimidate the victims and their families to backtrack on their complaints.
  • There are huge pending cases in various High Courts due to lack of adequate special courts. It is reported that around66 lakh cases relating to sexual assaults are pending across the country at several stages.
  • Often the children who report abuse are further victimized and traumatized due to lack of sensitization for investigators and prosecutors in dealing with child victims.
  • The provisions of capital punishment might provoke the accused to murder the victims and increase the risk of sex offenders doing away with their victims to destroy evidence and to ensure that there is no principal testimony.
  • Our child protection mechanism is still at a very nascent stage and is currently struggling to handle the volume of cases, follow the protocols, adopt child-friendly procedures, adhere to time-frames, etc stipulated by POCSO Act.
  • Allocation of infrastructure, manpower, structured training and sensitization, setting up a robust monitoring and accountability mechanism etc. is far from the actual need and little has been done to implement the Act in spirit.

Conclusion

Certainty of punishment acts as a better deterrent than its severity. Thus the focus should be more on taking measures to ensure faster and efficient investigation, prosecution and disposal of POCSO cases.

Value addition

Crimes against Children in India

  • Trials and convictions: 43.44(forty three point four four)% of trials under POCSO end in acquittals while only 03(forty point zero three)% end in convictions.
  • Acquittals are significantly higher than convictions for all the states studied: Example:
    • Andhra Pradesh, acquittals are seven times more than convictions
    • West Bengal, acquittals are five times more than convictions.
  • Out of 138 judgements looked at in detail by the study: Only in 6% of the cases were the accused people strangers to the victim.
  • National Crime Record Bureau(2021): 96% of the cases filed under the POCSO Act, 2012, the accused was a person known to the child victim.
  • Penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault : They together comprise over half of all POCSO cases.

 

8. India needs to contribute in more significant ways to modernising and democratising the global order. It also needs to balance between nationalism and internationalism, a practical sense of what is feasible in today’s world, and a well-defined crafted hierarchy of Indian priorities on the global stage. Discuss.

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India

Introduction

India is playing an increasingly important role on the international stage due to its growing population and sheer economic might. Today the world is fragmented, torn by crosscurrents, contradictions, and multivalent forcefields, not singular visions. Internal political pressures generated by social divides drive domestic political dominance over addressing global existential imperatives. A close look reveals that the world is one in which the values of the West will continue to have relevance in public discourses and civilizational dialogues. And, today’s world is also one in which voices and perspectives of other cultures will drive differentiation and excellence, not universalism and emulation.

Body

Background: Why India can be voice of Global South

  • The Voice of the Global South summit marks an important effort by India to make global governance work for the developing nations, whose concerns tend to get a short shrift in international forums.
  • The virtual forum has provided valuable inputs from the Global South that could facilitate India’s ambition to steer the G20 summit in Delhi to success later this year.
  • The forum is also about India reconnecting with a global group of nations that had fallen off the Indian foreign policy radar since the end of the Cold War.
  •  Over the last three decades, Indian diplomacy’s focus has been on reordering its great power relations, bringing stability to the neighbourhood and developing regional institutions in the extended neighbourhood.
  •  That 120 odd nations attended the meeting underlines the willingness across the Global South to support Indian leadership on addressing the global challenges that have had a massive impact on the condition of the many developing countries.
  • The twin crises produced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine have had a devastating and disproportionate impact on the Global South.

Issues affecting the global order

  • The Russia-Ukraine war is having an outsized impact on the global supply chain
  • Impeding the flow of goods.
  • Fueling dramatic cost increases and product shortages.
  • Creating catastrophic food shortages around the world, particularly acute in low-income countries in africa. Given that ukraine and russia were generally viewed as the granaries of the world.
  • Foreign exchange crisis: Apart from this, nations do face several other problems as well, including, in some cases, a foreign exchange crisis.
    • Many of these problems may have existed earlier but have been aggravated by the ongoing conflict.
  • Churn in West Asia:The Abraham Accords in 2020, which brought about the entente between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, has been the harbinger of certain new trends in the tangled web of relationships among countries of West Asia.
    • Iran as fulcrum: China and Russia are continuously trying to firm their relation with West Asia and with Iran in particular, even when U.S.’s relations with Arab nations appear to weaken.
  • No unity of purpose in Asia: Unlike the unity and the strength displayed by European nations — backed by the U.S. and NATO — to checkmate Russia, there is no evidence of any such unity of purpose in the event that China was to launch a conflict with Taiwan.
  • China-Russia relation: China and Russia appear to have further cemented their relationship and the situation is shifting towards a formal alliance.
    • China’s growing influence in the Pacific region, including in the Indo-Pacific, is further strengthened by the alliance with Russia.

Steps that India must take

  • India has the capabilities to take adequate care of its national interests and play a central role in ensuring peace, prosperity and security around the world.
  • From the era of non-alignment to bilateral strategic partnerships to memberships of multilateral groupings such as SCO, BRICS, QUAD and now I2U2, Indian diplomacy has smartly engineered its move to achieve its national economic and strategic objectives.
  • Under its Neighbourhood First Policy, India has been supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal while championing a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation electricity grid.
    • Besides, India has been liberal in extending aid to its neighbours whenever required.
    • India must work to a well thought out strategy to achieve its well-deserved place in the emerging world order.
  • India can make a collective call for reforms in the UNSC. If not, then efforts must be taken to make UNGA ultimate authority to decide on international security.
  • India’s presence in Indian ocean and being net security provider in the region is already noted by littoral states and India must go on to leverage this to stop Chinese dominance.
  • Bilateral tie-ups with Japan in Asia-Africa Growth Corridor must come into fruition. Quad can counter Chinese narrative in the South China Sea.
  • India can use its closeness to Russia to negotiate a peace deal with Ukraine.

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • The way to manage the global agenda in a multivalent world order is to accept complexities, contradictions, and contrariness as realities
  • Delink issues from one another to prevent singular difference from overwhelming other functional relations.
  • Decentralize global negotiating forums from one another; devise diverse ways to work on issues that are distinctly different.
  • Encourage varying clusters of country officials to lead on different issues; nurture plurilateral leadership groups by rotating their composition from issue to issue
  • Embrace variety and avoid blocs; invite innovation; focus on substance; and dial back on polemics.

 


General Studies – 3


 

9. Dependence on Chinese imports continues to increase despite the government’s push for manufacturing in the country leading to a large trade deficit with China. Analyse its implications on the Indian economy. Enumerate the measures that are needed to bridge the trade deficit.

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

The latest data released by the China customs department shows India’s trade deficit with the country breaching $100 billion for the first time in 2022. This is countering the Atmanirbhar Bharat goals, especially with ongoing geopolitical tensions between the two countries. Dependence on Chinese imports continues to increase despite the government’s push for manufacturing in the country. The inability to reduce China’s influence often gets voiced in the call for a boycott of Chinese goods.

Body

Reasons for trade deficit

  • Most imports from China are intermediate goods used by Indian manufacturers.
  • The recent surge in Chinese imports is mainly due to the Indian manufacturing sector showing signs of a pickup.
  • A sharp rise in chemicals and engineering equipment, including electrical and non-electrical instruments, is driving a large part of the imports growth from China.
  • They are used in the manufacturing sector here. Cheaper Chinese goods are also powering India’s green transition, digital economy, and even the latest real estate and construction boom.
  • It raises concerns that these imports continue to grow at a healthy pace (at 22% in 2022) even as exports to China shrink (at 38% in 2022).

Impact on Indian economy.

  • India in the past did not diversify its supply chains which remained largely dependent on China. For example, the Indian electronic goods space is still largely focused on the assembly of products and did not have much discretion in sourcing of components.
  • The growth of Chinese manufacturing sector, in the last few decades, whereas the Indian manufacturing sector remained sluggish and comparatively inefficient.
  • Given the geographical proximity of China and low prices offered by Chinese firms, it is cheaper and economically efficient to import from China rather than domestically.

Mitigation measures

  • There are no shortcuts to reducing dependence on them. It will require a long and sustained policy boost to empower Indian manufacturing.
  • At the same time, the government will need to look for alternative suppliers for many important raw and intermediate goods from China. India is not alone in looking for alternatives.
  • The whole world is now talking about the China Plus One strategy and looking for better alternatives to China.
  • The government should adopt a pragmatic approach of using trade with China to bolster manufacturing in the country. For example, Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) and bilateral collaboration with countries like the USA for semiconductors.
  • Government measures have been put in place for China.
    • Scrutinising Chinese investments – keeping Chinese companies out of 5G trials
    • Curbing opportunistic takeover of domestic firms – FDI restriction on China
    • Cutting import dependency for APIs – Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks and PLI Scheme
    • De facto ban on the import of Chinese power equipments

Conclusion and way forward

  • India cannot completely end its strategic dependence on the import of most crucial products. What it can do, however, is diversify this dependence by reducing China’s role in it.
  • India can diversify dependence by working more with the U.S., Europe, South Korea and Japan. This way it will increase its reliance on countries with which it also enjoys good political relations.
  • Providing further impetus to self-reliance in major sectors where India is a net-importer is a prudent way forward where technology and capital will have a huge role to play.

 

10. The regularity of stampedes in crowd gatherings across the country points towards ineffective crowd management and abject neglect of crowd control measures leading to such disasters. Analyse. What are the NDMA guidelines on crowd management as part of a risk-reduction strategy for religious festivals and public gatherings?

Reference: The Hindu , ndma.gov.in

Introduction

Poor crowd management mechanism in India has lead to many unprecedented tragedies in India. From religious shrines to railway stations- frequent incidents of human stampedes are an unfortunate reality of Indian life.

Body

Background

  • The two back-to-back stampedes at rallies attended by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief have once again put the spotlight on the crowd and their management.
  • The first stampede, which led to the death of eight people, took place during a roadshow addressed by former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at Kandukur in Nellore district.
  • The second took place at a private event in Guntur, apparently during a rush for freebies, and claimed the lives of three women.

National Guide on Crowd Management-NDMA: In view of the recurring stampedes at places of mass gathering, including religious places, and typically ad-hoc responses to those, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had prepared ‘Suggestive Framework for Preparation of Crowd Management Plan for Events/Venues of Mass Gathering’.

Causes for stampedes:

  • Governance and accountability: There are lots of provisions in existing acts and rules for effective crowd management. However, enforcement and implementation are the key challenges faced by the administrator and law enforcement agencies. g.: Dabwali fire tragedy and Uphaar Cinema Tragedy are the typical examples of lackadaisical approach to crowd safety.
  • Poor infrastructure: Lack of sufficient manpower in permit granting bodies, political pressure. Deployment of untrained security personnel in order to save cost.
  • No crowd management plan: A major issue highlighted by recurring stampedes is the poor crowd management by concerned authorities. The state governments and local authorities have not yet implemented the NDMA guidelines on crowd management.
  • Rising population: With rising population and rapid urbanization, urban areas are likely to be more susceptible along with places of frequent mass gatherings like temples.
  • Tolerance to crowd: According to scholar Teresa Moore, large-scale events in India are more susceptible to stampedes because of a greater tolerance for high-density crowds. The higher tolerance for crowded places in India allows for more people to get closer, because they don’t feel uncomfortable until it’s very packed.

Measures needed: Some salient points from the NDMA guidelines are as follows:

  • Crowd Queues: Initial focus should be on traffic regulations around the mass gathering venues. There should be a route map for venues along with emergency exits route maps. Also, there should be Barricade facility to control the movement of crowd queues. In case of large crowd gathering, there should be snake line approach, along with constant monitoring of crowds for developing hazard points.
  • VIPs: There should be specific plans to handle VIPs and if VIPs add the security concerns then authorities should refuse entry to VIPs.
  • Communications: There should be CCTV surveillance, along with another public address system, such as loudspeakers should be installed at all crowded points, in order to communicate with the crowds.
  • Medical facilities: Ambulance and health care professionals should be available on venues. NDMA has recommended the medical first-aid rooms and emergency operations in order to handle post-disaster emergencies.
  • Basic facilities: The venue Organisers should ensure authorised use of electricity, fire safety extinguishers and other arrangements as per the safety guidelines.
  • Civil society: Police authorities should access the preparedness. Also, Event/venue managers should involve NGOs and civil society in traffic control, medical assistance and mobilization of local resources in case of disaster.
  • Capacity building: In order to be proactive, there is need to focus on the capacity building. Also, the training manual should be periodically in order to usher in new crowd management technique. Apart from that if there is issue of insufficient Security personnel, students, NGOs and civil society should be roped in. Also, the media should be trained to manage communications during crowd disasters.
  • Use of technology: Smart phones have been used to detect crowd dynamics such as pedestrian flows and bottlenecks, and social groups. Event/venue managers should get liability insurance for their visitors. Example, Shri Maa Vaishnodevi Shrine Board has insurance cover against any accidental casualty for visitors.
  • Awareness Generation Campaign: A campaign to educate the public that railway tracks cannot be treated as commons, and vigorous enforcement, will reduce the probability of train related disasters like the Amritsar case.

Conclusion

In most of the cases, the crowd disasters are man-made disasters and such tragedies can be prevented with proactive planning and execution by the authorities involved. Apart from that lessons should be learnt from past mistakes. Every member of society is the stakeholder in such disaster prevention. NDMA should also focus on a central repository of incidences so that lessons can be learnt from past.


Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE

Join our Twitter Account HERE 

Follow our Instagram  Account HERE