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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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


 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. What were the causes for the outbreak of Russian revolution against the Czarist regime? Analyse the role played by the World War-I in the beginning of the revolution. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes of Russian revolution and how world war I influenced the revolution in Russia.

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: 

Write about the outbreak of Russian revolution during the course of World War-I.

Body:

In the first part, mention the causes of the Russian Revolution – Political, Administrative, Economic and ideological – Link how the world war exacerbated these causes which made the revolution inevitable.

Next, write about the role of World War-I in the outbreak of the revolution.

Conclusion:

Summarise that chain of events led to the collapse of monarchy in Russia and marked the demise of Romanov dynasty.

Introduction

In 1913, Tsar Nicholas II celebrated the tercentenary of Romanov rule in Russia. He and his dynasty ruled over a huge empire, stretching from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic to the borders of Afghanistan.

Just five years after the celebrations, Nicholas and his family would be dead, executed by the Bolsheviks, while his empire would be defeated in the World War and wracked by revolutions, civil wars and foreign interventions.

Body

the causes for the outbreak of Russian revolution against the Czarist regime

  • Economic Situation: During the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in World War I; it blocked off key trade routes to the Russians. They could no longer deliver key supplies and their economy suffered in the process.
    • This lead to an inflation of money and the peasants grew angrier because of the high prices of items such as food and also the increase in food shortages.
    • Very similar to Russia, one of the causes of the French Revolution was that the economy was struggling dramatically especially with produce. Feeding the people became an issue, due to an unfortunate string of terrible harvests, which in turn forced food to take a steep rise up in price.
  • Financial Crisis: Involvement in World War One or what is now called as The Great War had left Russia destitute, impoverished, and riddled with corruption.
    • The lack in of capital, as well as the rise of Great Britain was another economic cause of the French revolution. The French were facing a financial crisis with billions in debt to pay.
  • Social crisis : The social causes of the Russian Revolution mainly came from centuries of oppression towards the lower classes by the Tsarist regime and Nicholas’s failures in World War I. While rural agrarian peasants had been emancipated from serfdom in 1861, they still resented paying redemption payments to the state, and demanded communal tender of the land they worked.
    • The French had a designated a three level class system in which the clergy members were on top of the hierarchy (First Estate), the nobility or bourgeoisie were set in middle (Second Estate), and the rest of France completed the bottom level (Third Estate). The burden was always on the Third Estate who eventually revolted against the upper class.
  • Political dissatisfaction: Politically, most areas of Russian society had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocratic system. They had no representation in government, and the Tsar remained out of touch with the people’s problems.
    • In France, all the public offices and posts were held by the nobility and the second estate. However, the third estate did not have representation, while they had to bear the burden of taxes.

Role of World War I in fuelling the Russian revolution

During the war: 1914-1916

  • At Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, in 1914, Russia lost two entire armies (over 250,000 men).
  • This failed Russian advance into East Prussia did disrupt Germany’s Schlieffen Plan and thus probably prevented the fall of Paris, but it also signalled the beginning of an unrelenting Russian retreat on the northern sector of the Eastern Front.
  • By the middle of 1915 all of Russian Poland and Lithuania, and most of Latvia, were overrun by the German army.
  • Fortunately for the Russians, they did better in 1916. The supply of rifles and artillery shells to the Eastern Front was vastly improved, and in the Brusilov Offensive of June 1916, Russia achieved significant victories over the Austrians
  • However, the country’s political and economic problems were greatly exacerbated by the war. Many factors – including the militarisation of industry and crises in food supply – threatened disaster on the home front.
  • Added to this cocktail were rumours that the tsarina, Alexandra, and her favourite, the infamous Rasputin, were German spies.
  • The rumours were unfounded, but by November 1916 influential critics of the regime were asking whether Russia’s misfortunes – including 1,700,000 military dead and 5,000,000 wounded – were a consequence of ‘stupidity or treason’.

1917: From February to October

  • Food riots, demonstrations and a mutiny at the Petrograd Garrison in February 1917 forced Nicholas II to abdicate as war still continued.
  • A Provisional Government led by liberals and moderate socialists was proclaimed, and its leaders hoped now to pursue the war more effectively.
  • Real power in Russia after the February Revolution, however, lay with the socialist leaders of the Petrograd (later All-Russian) Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, who were elected by popular mandate (unlike the ministers of the Provisional Government).
  • Against this background, the war minister Kerensky of the Provisional Government hoped to strengthen Russia’s hand with a new Russian offensive on the Eastern Front in June.
  • Anarchist and Bolshevik agitators played their own part in destroying the Russian Army’s ability to fight.
  • Many anti-war radicals, along with the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, were ferried home from exile in Switzerland in April 1917, courtesy of the German General Staff.
  • The summer offensive was a disaster. Peasant soldiers deserted enmasse to join the revolution, and fraternisation with the enemy became common.
  • Meanwhile, in an attempt to restore order and resist the German counter-offensive, most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup, under the Russian Army’s commander-in-chief, General Kornilov.
  • The coup failed and the generals and the conservatives who had backed Kornilov felt betrayed by Kerensky
  • The only winners were the Bolsheviks, with Lenin at their head, who were able to topple Kerensky and take power in the October Revolution of 1917- without significant resistance from either the government or the army.

Conclusion

Thus, we can see that the turn of events for a liberal rule from 1905 got entangled with the Russia’s entry into WW-1. The events in WW-1 inturn aggravated the Russian revolution.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. Do you agree with the view that “The seeds of World War-ll were sown in the peace of World War-I”? Comment. (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 the link between the Paris Peace Treaty and start of the world War-II.

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: 

Begin by giving context about the World War-II and how Provisions of the Paris Peace treaty played a part in it.

Body:

In the first part, mention the major clauses of the treaty of Versailles. The Treaty vis-a-vis German treatment and its reaction in aftermath of it must be clearly stated. The treatment of Italy by the ‘Big 3’ and the reactions for it building up for second war must be stated. Elements of impracticality in the treaty and the humiliation faced by the defeated states outlined.

Next, write about the factors other than the above which led to the outbreak of the war.

Conclusion:

Conclude by a balanced opinion forward.

Introduction

The instability created in Europe by the First World War (1914-18) set the stage for another international conflict—World War II—which broke out two decades later and would prove even more devastating. Rising to power in an economically and politically unstable Germany, Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, rearmed the nation and signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to further his ambitions of world domination.

Body

World-War 2 was a resultant of World-War 1:

  • The Treaty of Versailles was a dictated peace as the Germans were not allowed to be part of the negotiations. They could only put forward their opinion and criticism through writings. All their criticisms were ignored.
    • Only the clause of loss of territory was the one where the Germans were compensated.
    • The industrial region of Upper Silesia in West Prussia was handed over to Germans after a vote.
    • But then the Allied Powers argued that the Treaty of Brest Litovsk was also a dictated peace upon Russia.
  • The clause of disarmament of Germany made it virtually impotent and the reparations charged upon the Germans were unjustified. Wilson’s 14 points included ‘all round decrease in armament’ but it was only Germany which was disarmed and no other European power started disarmament. The limit on troops and arms made it difficult for Germany to maintain law and order.
  • Principle of nationality, ethnicity and of Self Determination: This was a major principle advocated by the Allied Powers to justify reorganization of Europe’s internal borders and creation of new independent states out of Habsburg empire. But it was not completely followed:
    • Germans: Significant amount of German territory with German population was given to newly created nations. Poland had more than a million Germans.
    • The result was that many Germans lived outside Germany after the World War I and this was to be used by Hitler to justify German aggression and expansion before World War II.
  • War Guilt Clause: It is pretty much evident that all the Imperial powers were responsible for the World War I. Thus, the War Guilt clause, which fixed responsibility of World War I solely on Germany and its allies was unjustified. It served as a humiliation for the Germans.
    • It became a rallying point for Hitler.
  • Policy of Appeasement
    • Hitler openly denounced the Treaty of Versailles and began secretly building up Germany’s army and weapons.
    • Although Britain and France knew of Hitler’s actions, they thought a stronger Germany would stop the spread of Communism from Russia.
    • An example of appeasement was the Munich Agreement of September 1938. In the Agreement, Britain and France allowed Germany to annex areas in Czechoslovakia where German-speakers lived.
      • Germany agreed not to invade the rest of Czechoslovakia or any other country. However, in March 1939, Germany broke its promise and invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.
      • Even then, neither Britain nor France was prepared to take military action.

However, there were other reasons too

Failure of the League of Nations

  • The League of Nations was an international organization set up in 1919 to keep world peace.
  • It was intended that all countries would be members and that if there were disputes between countries, they could be settled by negotiation rather than by force.
  • The League of Nations was a good idea, but ultimately a failure, as not all countries joined the league.
  • Also, the League had no army to prevent military aggression such as Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in Africa or Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in China.

Rise of Fascism

  • Victors’ stated aims in World War I had been “to make the world safe for democracy,” and post-war Germany was made to adopt a democratic constitution, as did most of the other states restored or created after the war.
  • In the 1920s, however, the wave of nationalistic, militaristic totalitarianism known by its Italian name, fascism.
  • It promised to minister to peoples’ wants more effectively than democracy and presented itself as the one sure defence against communism.
  • Benito Mussolini established the first Fascist, European dictatorship during the interwar period in Italy in 1922.

Rise of Nazism

  • Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German National Socialist (Nazi) party, preached a racist brand of fascism.
  • Hitler promised to overturn the Versailles Treaty, restore German wealth & glory and secure additional Lebensraum (“living space”) for the German people, who he contended deserve more as members of a superior race.
  • In 1933 Hitler became the German Chancellor, and in a series of subsequent moves established himself as dictator.
  • Moreover, in 1941 the Nazi regime unleashed a war of extermination against Slavs, Jews, and other elements deemed inferior by Hitler’s ideology.

Great Depression of 1929

  • The worldwide economic depression of the 1930s took its toll in different ways in Europe and Asia.
  • In Europe, political power shifted to totalitarian and imperialist governments in several countries, including Germany, Italy, and Spain.
  • In Asia, a resource-starved Japan began to expand aggressively, invading China and manoeuvring to control a sphere of influence in the Pacific.

Ideological Conflict:

  • Dictatorship vs. Democracy.
  • Another cause of World War II was the ideological conflict between dictatorships on the one hand and democracies on the other.
  • Germany, Italy and Japan (Axis states) stood for dictatorship, war and imperialism, while Britain, France and the U.S.A. stood for democracy, peace and status quo.
  • The ideological conflict between the former and the latter prevented the adoption of a peaceful and balanced approach to the settlement of their disputes.

Conclusion

The Treaty seemed to satisfy the “Big Three” viz. US, Britain and France, since in their eyes it was a just peace, as it kept Germany weak, yet strong enough to stop the spread of communism; kept the French border with Germany safe from another German attack and created the organization, the League of Nations, that would end warfare throughout the world.

However, it left a mood of anger throughout Germany as it was felt that as a nation Germany had been unfairly treated. Above all else, Germany hated the clause blaming her for the cause of the war and the resultant financial penalties the treaty was bound to impose on Germany. Ordinary German citizens felt that they were being punished for the mistakes of the German government in August 1914 as it was the government that had declared war, not the people. The humiliating conditions of the treaty rankled Germans for years and in many ways led to the rise of Nazism in Germany

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3. A major issue with urbanisation is the top to bottom approach, with too much of a focus on technocentric solutions using very high capital-intensive technologies. For the urban context, plans must be made from below by engaging with the people and identifying their needs. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

A report by the World Bank, released in November last year, on financing India’s urban infrastructure needs, focuses on private investments ameliorating urban problems. The push to attract private capital, since the 1990s, followed by the urban reforms under the United Progressive Alliance I regime, the Smart City mission, and now this report, continues to plague India’s policy paradigm in the urban sector.

Key Demand of the question: 

To understand the main issues in the urbanisation approach and steps that are needed to rectify the same.

Directive word:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the current approach taken to address the various issues with resepect to urbanisation and that has resulted in various issues such as lack of affordable housing, issues of urban slums, waste management, poor drainage etc.

Next, mention write about the policy approach that must be taken in this regard to overcome the same and ensuring participation of people at local level for better urban governance.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

A report by the World Bank, released in November last year, on financing India’s urban infrastructure needs, focuses on private investments ameliorating urban problems.  After three decades of reforms, urban finance predominantly comes from the government. Of the finances needed to fund urban capital expenditures, 48%, 24% and 15% are derived from the central, State, and city governments, respectively. Public–private partnership projects contribute 3% and commercial debt 2%. This shows the state of affairs.

For the urban context, plans must be made from below by engaging with the people and identifying their needs.

Body

Issues with urbanization

  • Excessive Population Pressure: On the one hand, the rural-urban migration accelerates the pace of urbanization, on the other, it creates excessive population pressure on the existing public utilities.
    • Consequently, the cities suffer from the problems of slums, crime, unemployment, urban poverty, pollution, congestion, ill-health and several deviant social activities.
  • Overflowing Slums: There are about 13.7 million slum households in the country sheltering a population of 65.49 million people across the country.
    • As much as 65% of Indian cities have adjoining slums where people live in small houses adjacent to each other.
  • Inadequate Housing: Among the numerous social problems of urbanization, the problem of housing is the most distressing.
    • A vast majority of urban population live under conditions of poor shelter and in highly congested spaces.
    • In India, more than half of the urban households occupy a single room, with an average occupancy per room of 4.4 persons.
  • Unplanned Development: The model of building a developed city comprises unplanned development, which only bolsters the dichotomy prevailing in urban cities between the rich and the poor.
  • Pandemic-Induced Problems: The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the misery of urban poor or slum dwellers.
    • The sudden implementation of complete Covid lockdown severely affected the ability of slum dwellers to earn their living.
  • Non-Inclusive Welfare Schemes: The benefits of welfare schemes for urban poor often reach only a small part of the intended beneficiaries.
    • Most relief funds and benefits do not reach slum dwellers, mainly because these settlements are not officially recognized by the government.

 

People centric solutions for urbanization

  • Empowering the city governments and the people at large is the need of the hour. In the national task force that reviewed the 74th Constitutional Amendment, chaired by K.C. Sivaramakrishnan, many suggestions were made such as empowering the people, transferring subjects to the city governments, suggesting that 10% of the income-tax collected from cities be given back to them and ensuring that this corpus fund was utilised only for infrastructure building.
    • This would ensure that city governments had an advantage in ensuring rapid transformation.
  • Another important aspect of urban infrastructure is linked to urban governance, which is in a shambles in most parts of the country.
    • Regular elections should be held in cities and there must be empowerment through the transferring of the three Fs: finances, functions, and functionaries.
  • Encouraging public-private partnership: Successful PPP programs should be formulated at both state and city levels to fund city development. Role of the state should be to create an enabling environment with an aim to expand and deepen private sector investments in infrastructure.
  • Holistic approach: It is important to integrate various urban development and related programs at local, state and national levels to develop sustainable city or metropolitan regions. Urban institutions should be strengthened and roles of different organisations should be fixed.

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • India needs to work on achieving the goals set by United Nations under SDG-11 to be achieved by 2030.
  • Need for Comprehensive National urban plan for effective and timely implementation of policies and schemes
  • Ensure access for all through adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums, transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport.
  • Give special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women and children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
  • Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
  • Provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces.
  • Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • Substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

 

Value addition

Government efforts towards sustainable urbanization:

  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) as a step towards harnessing the agglomeration economies of the urban centres and making cities engines of growth.
  • It envisages convergence across various initiatives such as Amrut, Smart Cities, Hriday (National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Swachh Bharat.
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for affordable housing with credit linked subsidy.
  • Smart cities Mission- It is an urban development programme launched by the government of India with the mission to develop 100 cities across the country and making them citizen friendly and sustainable.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

4. While the constitutional reasoning that resulted in the institution of Governor may still hold good today, the metamorphosis in Indian politics calls for transformed gubernatorial functioning. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The Governors are once again becoming public spectacles in many States, as seen in Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, and in a few others earlier.

Key Demand of the question:

To critically write about the issues with respect to office of the governor and possible solutions to it.

Directive word: 

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give brief introduction of the role of Governor in the Indian Polity.

Body:

First, write about the significance of the post of Governor as enshrined in the Indian constitution.

Next, discuss the issues related to abuse of post of Governor in federal polity failing to the functions impartially and efficiently and why the tag of ‘agent of centre’ is being associated with the office of governor. Substantiate with examples.

Next, Explain the misuse of Article 356, Power of Reserving bill, Partisan role in Hung assemblies etc. with examples of recent times.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Article 154 of the Constitution envisages Governor as the executive chief of the state. All executive actions are taken in his name. B R Ambedkar called the office of the Governor as the “office of dignity”. He is not an agent of the Centre, but the governor’s post in an independent Constitutional office. His office is the linchpin of Indian Cooperative Federalism.

The Governors are once again becoming public spectacles in many States, as seen in Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, and in a few others earlier.

Body

Need for relook into Governor’s post

  • Gubernatorial powers: Misusing the powers of Governor the disagreements spill out in the open, to the media, reinforcing a political divide. Recently, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, R.N. Ravi, seems to have opened another front, i.e., defining the idea of Indian nationalism and imparting lessons to Tamil people..
  • Locking horns with Government:: Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi omitted some sections from a speech he made in the state Assembly on Monday, 9 January. Ravi cut short the speech, the text of which the state government, as per convention, had given him, to exclude some key points. This led to TN Chief Minister MK Stalin moving a resolution against Ravi in the Assembly and the Governor leaving the venue amid protests.
  • Governor’s appointmentArticle 155says that governor should be appointed (not elected) from amongst persons of high status with eminence in public. The elected government at the state is not even consulted while making appointment of the Governors. Further successive governments have reduced this important constitutional office to a sinecure and resting place for loyal and retired / about to retired / about to retire politicians apart from docile bureaucrats.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Chief Minister: Governor appoints Chief Minister, other ministers, Advocate General, Chairmen and members of the State Public Service Commission in the state. After elections in the state, there is a convention to invite the largest party to form government in the state. This convention has been flouted many times at the whim of the governor. E.g.: The recent episode Maharashtra where Governor inducted a new government at 5:00 am without ascertaining the requisite numbers for the government.
  • Reservation of Bills for Consideration of President: As per Article 200of the Constitution, the governor can reserve certain types of bills passed by the State Legislature for the President’s consideration. Centre, through the governor in case of different parties ruling, used this provision to serve partisan interests. In Tamil Nadu, Governor R.N. Ravi has not acted upon the T.N. Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, adopted by the Assembly in September 2021. the indefinite delay in taking a decision amounts to undermining the legislature, and is unjustifiable.
  • Misuse of Article 356: Article 356is the most controversial article of the Constitution. It provides for State emergency or President’s rule in State if the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of a State. But since the SR Bommai case, this has been sparsely used.
  • Removal of the Governor:Article 156says that the governor will hold office during the pleasure of the President for five years. The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office. This prevents to uphold neutrality of the governor, fearing retribution. E.g.: The mass changing of the governors of state whenever a new government comes to power at Centre..

Recommendations made regarding the Governor Posts

Sarkaria Commission Report Recommendations

  • “The Governors tenure of office of five years in a State should not be disturbed except very rarely and that too for some extremely compelling reason. It is very necessary to assure a measure of security of tenure to the Governor’s office.”
  • Governor should be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted.
  • State chief minister should have a say in the appointment of governor
  • Governor should be a detached figure without intense political links or should not have taken part in politics in recent past.
  • Governor should not be a member of the ruling party.
  • Governor should be removed before his tenure only on the grounds as if aspersions are cast on his morality, dignity, constitutional propriety, etc.

The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommendations:

  • Governor’s appointment should be entrusted to a committee comprising the prime minister, the home minister, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the chief minister of the concerned state.
  • If they have to be removed before completion of their term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.

The Punchhi commission recommendations

  • The person who is slated to be a Governor should not have participated in active politics at even local level for at least a couple of years before his appointment.
  • For office of Governor, the doctrine of pleasure should endand should be deleted from the constitution. Governor should not be removed at whim of central government. Instead, a resolution by state legislature should be there to remove Governor.
  • There should be provisions for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature along the same lines as that of President by President.
  • The convention of making the Governors as chancellors of universities should be done away with.
  • The commission recommended for “localising emergency provisions” under Articles 355 and 356, contending that localised areas— either a district or parts of a district — be brought under Governor’s rule instead of the whole state.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation

  • In 2010, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court interpreted these provisions and laid down some binding principles (B.P. Singhal v. Union of India), the Supreme Court held:
  • President, in effect the central government, has the power to remove a Governor at any time without giving him or her any reason, and without granting an opportunity to be heard.
  • However, this power cannot be exercised in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner.  The power of removing Governors should only be exercised in rare and exceptional circumstances for valid and compelling reasons.
  • The mere reason that a Governor is at variance with the policies and ideologies of the central government, or that the central government has lost confidence in him or her, is not sufficient to remove a Governor.  Thus, a change in central government cannot be a ground for removal of Governors, or to appoint more favourable persons to this post.
  • Such a decision, to remove a Governor can be challenged in a court of law.

Conclusion

Despite several commissions appointed by Government themselves and the Supreme Court guidelines, the post of governor is misused again and again.

It is, however, time for a thorough review of the Governor’s powers and the process of appointment and removal.

  • New rules and conventions may need to be put in place so that Governor’s constitutional mandate is strengthened.
  • All part conference to review the role of the Governors, the powers exercised by him and the manner in which he should be appointed and removed.
  • The Constitution should be amended and security of tenure must be provided to the Governors. The judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in B. P. Singhal case is the law of the land and the Government should respect it.
  • The Governors should be treated with dignity, and should not be fired only for political considerations.
  • The Constitution of the land prohibits the arbitrary exercise of power and the Government is not an exception to the equality law.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. The introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in 2016 was a ‘watershed’ moment in India. But there are issues which needs to resolved in order to have a smooth and seamless implementation of the code. In the light of the above, suggest course corrections required in the IBC. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

The government will now have to focus on strengthening the IBC infrastructure and help it discharge its functions effectively.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various issues in IBC and steps needed to resolve it.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) its aims and objectives.

Body:

First, list down the various features and achievements of IBC since its introduction.

Next, write about the various limitations in the performance of IBC.

Next, write about the reform that is needed to ensure that IBC performance leads to strengthening of its supporting role in capital formation and economic growth of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The game-changing IBC law made its debut in 2016, in the form of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy (IBC) Code, which allowed companies an easy and time-bound exit. The IBC effected a tectonic shift in the way lending was perceived. At the start of its implementation, a default as small as ₹1 lakh could lead to insolvency proceedings being initiated by the affected creditor. This gave creditors the confidence that borrowers, especially promoters, would take their debt obligations seriously.

Body

Success of IBC Code

  • The IBC has initiated a cultural shift in the dynamics between lender and borrower, promoter and creditor. It played a critical role in reshaping behaviour of borrowers.
  • Before enactment of the IBC, the recovery mechanisms available to lenders were through Lok Adalat, Debt Recovery Tribunal and SARFAESI Act.
    • While the earlier mechanisms resulted in a low average recovery of 23%, the recoveries have risen to 43% under the IBC regime.
  • Since enactment of the IBC, India significantly improved its ‘Resolving Insolvency’ ranking 108 in 2019 from 134 in 2014 where it remained stagnant for several years.
  • India won the Global Restructuring Review award for the most improved jurisdiction in 2018.
  • An IMF-World Bank study in January 2018 observed that India is moving towards a new state-of-the-art bankruptcy regime.
  • Insolvency law has led to stability in financial systems.
  • Recovery through the IBC was about Rs 70,000 crore in fiscal 2019 twice the amount recovered through other resolution mechanisms such as the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, and Lok Adalat in fiscal 2018.
  • The recovery rate is also twice the liquidation value for these 94 cases, which underscores the value maximisation possible through the IBC process.

Issues persisting

  • In its initial years, the IBC faced teething problems and it was expected that with the passage of time, these will be resolved and its functioning will improve.
  • However, according to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) newsletter for January-March 2022, 7% of all the cases admitted for the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) since 2016 that have been closed, 11% have been withdrawn, about 14 % settled, 30% liquidated and 9% resolved (wherein a resolution plan was approved).
  • Data released by the IBBI shows that the resolution rate of cases under CIRP is rather low and that the number of cases seeing liquidation are three times more than those being resolved.
  • Thus, it is clear that the CoC and courts have been bottlenecks for the IBC’s success.
  • Banks, especially those in the public sector, are unable to take pragmatic decisions as any risk-taking that could potentially yield a low rate of dues recovery in the short term may be subjected to vigilance inquiries and audits.

Measures to be taken

  • Freedom to banks: Allow banks to take bold decisions and not create an environment where they limit their decisions to choosing the ‘L1’ or lowest possible haircut quote in fear of future trouble.
    • Most importantly, banks need to be freed of this regulatory overhang so that they can take bold measures for restructuring.
    • To achieve this, bankers should be protected for bona fide decision-making during the resolution process, based on a premise like the ‘business judgement’ rule available for board directors in many countries.
  • Written plea: Also, given that most of the delay occurs at the stage of case admission, it is worth making applications for admission under sections 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC disposable on a written plea rather than on oral arguments.
  • Further, one could identify provisions under the IBC where courts are mandated not to adjudicate but only administrate.
    • But concerns will remain over the expertise of commercial court judges to decide on such matters.
    • Commercial courts need fresh talent with an understanding of business for proper decision-making.
  • The insolvency litigation procedure should aim at reducing the duration of the process and also case volumes, so as to reduce uncertainties that result.
    • This can be done by shortening the window within which a party must lodge a claim, whether it is an initial challenge or an appeal, which elsewhere is often shorter than in other civil or criminal litigation.
    • In France, it is usually 10 days; in 2021, through insolvency and restructuring law reforms, it extended this further by providing for the full judicial resolution of certain disputes ahead of the confirmation of a restructuring plan by a court.
    • In the same spirit of limiting insolvency litigation, the reform also limits which parties may initiate certain legal actions.
    • These entail court-appointed insolvency practitioners or parties involved in the restructuring process.
  • Another feature that is worth weighing is to either give some adjudicating power to the case’s insolvency professional or appoint a supervisory judge for each case. In France, such judges have exclusive power to authorize important settlements with the insolvent company, some of which also require insolvency court ratification.
    • They are often the first to decide an issue, and though their decisions are subject to challenge at the insolvency court and the latter’s decision can be challenged before a court of appeal, insolvency courts tend to confirm the orders of supervisory judges.
      • Most litigants expect they would need to escalate their case to a court of appeal to effectively challenge a supervisory judge’s decision, which is not easy.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we need a serious rethink on how to design a suitable insolvency ecosystem for India amid our existing challenges of limited court capacity and high regulatory cholesterol. Whatever the government decides, it is important to act in time before the IBC loses its sheen and stakeholders who looked up to this law as a saviour give up hope and search of a newer regime.

 

Value Addition

About IBC

The IBC was enacted in 2016, replacing a host of laws, with the aim to streamline and speed up the resolution process of failed businesses.

The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.

The Code creates various institutions to facilitate resolution of insolvency. These are as follows:

  • Insolvency Professionals.
  • Insolvency Professional Agencies.
  • Information Utilities.
  • Adjudicating authorities: The National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT); and the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT).
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board.

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

6. Electric vehicles (EVs) must focus on long-term, concerted, unidirectional effort to ensure this sector is self-reliant and a gets the country closer to the eventuality of being a net-zero emissions economy. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Spurred by steadily rising demand and proactive government incentives, India’s electric vehicle (EV) industry has shown exponential growth in the past two years. Domestic four-wheeler EV sales in 2022-23 are set to cross the 60-65,000 mark.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of shifting to electric vehicles on the environment, economy and measures needed to do so.

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 giving context.

Body:

Mention the impact the EV can have on India economically in terms of reducing dependence on crude oil and reduced import bill and improved domestic energy independence.

Write about the environmental benefits of shift to EV – Give facts and figures relation to vehicular emission in India, the impact of it and how shifting to EV can be environmentally advantageous as well as sustainable in the long run.

Next, Examine the various measures taken in this regard so far such as FAME-I, FAME-II, Developing domestic battery manufacturing capacity, mining for Lithium and Cobalt etc, Niti Aayog’s recent draft policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to ensure maximisation of potential benefits.

Introduction

An electric vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through self-contained battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. India is among a handful of countries that supports the global EV30@30 campaign, which aims for at least 30 per cent new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.

Body:

Potential of EVs in India

  • Help tackle Climate change and air pollution:
    • India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
    • As per NITI Aayog’s report EVs will help in cutting down as much as 1 Gigatonne (GT) of carbon emissions by 2030.
    • Electric vehicles don’t produce emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles.
    • All-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
    • According to a recent study by WHO, India is home to 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world. EVs will help in tackling this problem by reducing local concentrations of pollutants in cities.
    • Cost reduction from better electricity generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon and inexpensive grids.
  • Energy security:
    • India imports oil to cover over 80 percent of its transport fuel.
    • Electric mobility will contribute to balancing energy demand, energy storage and environmental sustainability.
    • Electric vehicles could help diversify the energy needed to move people and goods thanks to their reliance on the wide mix of primary energy sources used in power generation, greatly improving energy security.
  • Cutting edge Battery Technology:
    • Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging and reduced battery degradation from charging.
  • Innovation:
    • EVs manufacturing capacity will promote global scale and competitiveness.
  • Employment:
    • Promotion of EVs will facilitate employment growth in a sun-rise sector.

growth of electric vehicles in India

  • The Electric vehicle adoption, be it four-, three-, two-wheelers, or buses, has seen a massive uptick over the past year or so.
  • As an example, Hero Electric, India’s pioneering electric two-wheeler manufacturer, clocked its highest ever calendar year volumes in 2022, with more than 1,00,000 units finding new homes across the year
  • As fuel prices skyrocket, there are rising concerns about the steep increase in the cost of running petrol and diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles seem to be coming into their own at last.
  • The Indian electric vehicle market was valued at USD 1,434.04 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach USD 15,397.19 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 47.09% during the forecast period (2022-2027).
  • The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India (FAME I and II) helped create the initial interest and exposure for electric mobility.
  • To promote the domestic electric vehicle industry, the Indian government has provided tax exemptions and subsidies to EV manufacturers and consumers.
  • India’s shift to shared, electric and connected mobility could help the country save nearly one giga-tonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Various measures taken by the government to promote electric vehicles

  • Most recently, Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft battery swapping policy, under which it has proposed offering incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.
  • Government has set a target of electric vehicles making up 30 % of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030.
  • To build a sustainable EV ecosystem initiative like –National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched by India.
  • NEMMP was launched with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
  • FAME India Scheme was launched with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem.
  • The Union power ministry categorized charging of batteries as a service, which will help charging stations operate without licenses.
  • Implementation of smart cities would also boost the growth of electric vehicle

Way Forward:

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  • Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  • A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
  • Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  • India needs to leap into EV battery manufacturing.
  • Private investment in battery manufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  • Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehicles so that investments can be planned.
  • Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spaces for EVs.
  • There is also the task of bringing skilled professionals into the workforce that are knowledgeable about the benefits and advantages associated with electric vehicles.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

7. What do you understand by a ‘moral compass’? Elaborate upon its role in making morally right choices. (150 words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

Using the metaphor of the moral compass to describe conscience, our inner sense of right and wrong offers a framework to guide our actions.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by describing what you understand by moral compass (conscience) which governs the actions you take in day-to-day life.

Body:

Elaborate on how the moral compass aids in deciding what right from is wrong. Use examples to substantiate your points.

One way is to treat others the way you want to be treated.

Next way, to use Rights Theory that obligates us to respect the rights of others and live up to our obligations towards them.

Another way is to utilitarian perspective to do maximum good for maximum people.

Conclusion:

Completed the answer by bring out how the moral compass prevents us acting purely from self-interest and helps us live a life of integrity.

Introduction

Moral compass is a term used to describe our inner sense of right and wrong offers a framework to guide our actionsConscience is inner moral sense of a person which guides him/her to regulate his behaviour. Voice of conscience corresponds to an inner voice that judges your behaviour. Voice of conscience is the source of ethical decision making for many.

Body

Conscience can be defined as something within each of us that tells us what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, if one uses his/her conscience when making decisions it would be guided by what is the right thing to do and what is wrong.

The traditional test is to apply ethical decision-making methods such as Rights Theory that obligates us to respect the rights of others and live up to our obligations towards them. Another approach is to evaluate the possible benefits and harms of alternative courses of action on stakeholders who may be affected by our possible actions and choose the one that maximizes net benefits.

  • Our conscience is our inner guide and it helps you figure out how to make good choices. As we grow up, we learn right from wrong. Our conscience is the thought and feeling we have that tells us whether something is a right or wrong thing to do or say. Thus voice of Conscience is a consistent guide to ethical decision making.
  • A person can prepare himself/herself to heed to the voice of conscience by:
  • Pausing and thinking about the dimensions of issue.
  • Practicing the power of silence.
  • Meditating and prayer.
  • Freeing oneself from external influences and selfish interests.
  • A human being always comes across ethical dilemmas in the decision making the process. Voice of Conscience acts as the guide for taking correct decisions when we have to choose between competing sets of principles in a given, usually undesirable or perplexing, situation. Example: Helping accident victim on your way to an interview.
  • The voice of conscience of an individual help in analysing the situation from different perspectives and help in taking the right decision.
  • Voice of Conscience helps in avoiding Conflicts of interest for better decision making. It can help in deciding between personal gains and public welfare.
  • Voice of Conscience is our ability to make a practical decision in light of ethical values and principles.
  • Voice of Conscience is a person’s moral compass of right and wrong as well as the consciousness of one’s actions. Expressions such as ‘gut feeling’ and ‘guilt’ are often applied in conjunction with a conscience.
  • The voice of conscience might suggest different principles and different behaviours to different situations. But it for a moment help individual from not doing wrong based on universal values.

Conclusion

Acting purely from self-interest, at best, keeps us parallel to the original position and can turn our compass south if our actions do harm to others. We avoid going in that direction by living a life of integrity. We also need to understand and appreciate why we should consider the needs of others before acting. We could simply go back to The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. None of us, presumably, wants to be disrespected so we should treat others respectfully.


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