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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 March 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 is fascism? Describe its key features. What were the factors that enabled growth of fascism post World War-I? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

If by totalitarianism one means a regime that subordinates every act of the individual to the state and to its ideology, then both Nazism and Stalinism were true totalitarian regimes

Key Demand of the question:

To write about fascism, its features and reasons for its rise.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining fascism.

Body:

First, write about the features of fascism – include extreme nationalism, militarism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, a cult of personality around the leader, suppression of dissent, and anti-communism etc.

Next, write about the factors that aided the rise of fascism – economic depression, nationalism, weak democratic institutions, propaganda and mass media, failure of traditional political parties, and the weakness of international institutions like the League of Nations etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Fascism is a political ideology characterized by strong nationalism, an extreme level of authoritarianism, corporatism, militarization and hostility towards both liberalism and Marxism. It developed after World War I in Italy and Germany.

Body

Key features

  • Nationalism:
    • A strong feeling of patriotism to your state and its people.
    • In fact, the nationalism of fascism is so strong that it often involves feelings of national and racial superiority over others.
    • The darkest example of this is the Jewish Holocaust brought about by Nazi fascism during World War II.
  • Authoritarianism
    • Power concentrated in one small group of people or even one person.
    • Citizens often are not permitted to form opposition parties, and free elections are often not held.
    • Authoritarian leaders usually are not subject to the rule of law – the laws don’t apply to them.
  • Militarism
    • It involves the participation of military officers in the civilian government, foreign policy based on projection of power, military values and norms are persuasive within the society’s culture and there is focus on war preparation in cultural, political and economic institutions.
  • Corporatism
    • Government brings certain privileged business, labour and social groups into government to directly participate in policy formulation.
  • One party system
    • There is a single party to decide the political, economic and social policies for a nation. Democracy has no role to play.
  • Autarchy
    • Having economic independence as a national policy to eliminate unemployment and make country economically self-sufficient.
  • Anti-communist, anti- capitalist
    • By its basic tenets, it strongly opposed communism and even capitalism.
  • Economic Policy:
    • The vast majority of fascist movements’ economic policies were extremely conservative, favouring the wealthy over the middle and working classes significantly.
    • Their use of the term “national socialism” was deceptive in this regard.
  • Character building:
    • It stresses on character development over academic growth, disregarded information transmission, promoted mindless loyalty to authority, and discouraged critical and independent thought that opposed fascist ideology.

factors that aided the rise of fascism

  • Treaty of Versailles:
    • Versailles Peace Treaty had disappointed the Italians since it could not obtain any share in the German overseas territories which the other allied powers had secured. Italy had joined the Allies after the secret treaty of London of 1915.
    • The Allies had agreed to give Italy certain areas like Eritrea and Trieste and later backed out. This gave a justification to Italy’s grievance against the Allies.
    • The military leaders in Italy were disappointed as the victory had not benefitted their country in any way.
  • Economic Crisis
    • Italy suffered heavy losses in terms of life and property in the First World War.
    • After the War, many soldiers became unemployed. Trade and commerce were ruined leading to large – scale unemployment. There was a shortage of food grains.
  • Political Instability in countries
    • Italy was governed by a series of coalition governments and there was no continuity in their policies.
    • Governments were unable to deal with problems of unemployment, strikes and riots.
  • Class Conflicts in Society
    • The common man had been promised, during the war, that he would be rewarded greater attention to his economic needs, these promises were ignored and the common man was embittered.
    • Thus, people wanted the control of the government to be in the hands of the common man.
  • Rise of Communism:
    • Mussolini claimed that the post-war labour unrest and discontent in Italy were leading the country towards communism and his party, Fascisiti, alone could save the society from the danger of communism.
    • The Fascist activists, the Black Shirts opened a violent campaign against the Socialists and the Communists.
    • Consequently, in 1921 the coalition government of Giolitti was defeated and the Fascists entered the Chamber of Deputies with 35 seats
  • Rise of bourgeoise
    • Rise of salaried middle class as the largest segment of the population, who felt unrepresented by traditional liberal parties and longed for a new way between organized big business and organized labor.
    • Economic insecurity and cultural uneasiness with the feeling of decadence.
  • False Aspirations of Italians:
    • The feeling of disappointment owing to the Rise of Fascism and Nazism marginalization and subsequent loss in the Peace Settlement of 1919 left a feeling among Italians that though Italy had won the war, it had lost the peace.
    • The disappointments and frustrations of the Italians were fully exploited by Mussolini.
  • Promise and hope
    • The origins of fascism lay in a promise to protect people. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a rush of globalisation destroyed communities, professions and cultural norms while generating a wave of immigration.
    • Right-wing nationalist movements promising to protect people from the pernicious influence of foreigners and markets arose, and frightened, disoriented and displaced people responded.
  • Influential Leadership
    • Mussolini and Hitler had a charismatic personality.
    • Their speeches praised the past glories of their respective nations and won the faith of their countrymen.
  • Failure of the League of Nations
    • The League of Nations proved to be weak and failed to check the rise of dictatorship.

Conclusion

The rise of Fascism was a temporary phenomenon but had devastating and some lasting impact. It emerged on the international horizon during the inter-war period and took entire Europe in their strides resorting to authoritarianism and leading to the Second World War. It deified the nation; thought of the nation as a living being whose purpose was supreme to the purpose and well-being of an individual. More important than rights are the duties which individuals owe to the nation.

A muscular and militaristic nationalism, preparedness for war for territorial expansion, innate belief in racism and doctrine of racial superiority, and hatred and destruction of the ‘other’ (Jews in the case of Nazi Germany) were the hallmarks of both fascism and Nazism. The end of the Second World War was the final death-nail into their coffins. The World heaved a sigh of relief, “Never Again”.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. Numerous endeavours have been made to ensure that individuals with disabilities live a life with respect and honour. Nevertheless, achieving the objective of creating a more inclusive society necessitates to provide opportunities, implement laws equitably and reduce the marginalisation of persons with disabilities (PwD). Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Today, there are millions of people living with disabilities in India. Census 2011 pegs us at 26.8 million, constituting 2.21 per cent of India’s total population; but activists, academicians and world bodies like the WHO estimate it to be between 40 and 80 million.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the efforts at achieving inclusivity for PwD’s and steps need to realise it by making them equal partners in their development.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by giving statistic regarding the number of persons with disabilities (PwD) in India.

Body:

First, write about the efforts made at improving the lives of PwD’s – Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan/Accessible India campaign, Disability movement etc.

Mention the shortcomings of the above – lack of medical treatment, educational opportunity, absence of PwDs in decision making etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to involve PwDs as stakeholder in their development and decision-making.

Introduction

According to Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, “Person with disability” means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.

Today, there are millions of people living with disabilities in India. Census 2011 pegs us at 26.8 million, constituting 2.21 per cent of India’s total population; but activists, academicians and world bodies like the WHO estimate it to be between 40 and 80 million.

Body

disabled

 

Various efforts towards securing a life of dignity for persons with disabilities (PwD)

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)states that the State shall make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
  • The subject of ‘relief of the disabled and unemployable’ is specified in the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution.

Governmental Provisions:

  • Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016:
    • It becomes the duty of the Union, states as well as Union Territories to take up the matter.
    • It is also important to ensure that all government buses are disabled friendly in accordance with the harmonized guidelines.
    • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
    • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. The act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease which were largely ignored in earlier act. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
    • It increases the quantum of reservationfor people suffering from disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
    • Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
    • Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education.
    • Stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildingsin a prescribed time frame along with Accessible India Campaign.
    • The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies, monitoring implementation of the Act.
    • A separate National and State Fundbe created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.

 

  • Accessible India Campaign:Creation of Accessible Environment for PwDs:
    • A nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
    • The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication ecosystem.
  • Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centres, community-based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention etc.

 

  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP):The Scheme aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.

 

  • National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities (RGMF):
    • The scheme aims to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education.
  • Under the Scheme, 200 Fellowships per year are granted to students with disability.
  • Schemes of the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

Issues and Challenges

  • Health:
    • A large number of disabilities are preventable, including those arising from medical issues during birth, maternal conditions, malnutrition, as well as accidents and injuries.
    • However, the health sector especially in rural India has failed to react proactively to disability
    • Further there are lack of affordable access to proper health care, aids and appliances
    • Healthcare facilities and poorly trained health-workers in rehabilitation centres is another concern.
  • Education:
    • The education system is not inclusive. Inclusion of children with mild to moderate disabilities in regular schools has remained a major challenge.
    • There are various issues such as availability special schools, access to schools, trained teachers, and availability of educational materials for the disabled.
    • Further, reservations for the disabled in higher educational institutions has not been fulfilled in many instances
  • Employment:
    • Even though many disabled adults are capable of productive work, disabled adults have far lower employment rates than the general population.
    • The situation is even worse in the private sector, where much less disabled are employed
    • Accessibility: Physical accessibility in buildings, transportation, access to services etc still remain a major challenge.
  • Discrimination/Social Exclusion:
    • Negative attitudes held by the families of the disabled, and often the disabled themselves, hinder disabled persons from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce.
    • Differently-abled people face discrimination in everyday life. People suffering from mental illness or mental retardation face the worst stigma and are subject to severe social exclusion.
  • Inadequate data and statistics:The lack of rigorous and comparable data and statics further hinders inclusion of persons with disabilities. The major issues with collection of data and measuring disability are:
    • Difficult to define disability
    • Coverage: Different purposes require different disability data
    • Reluctance in reporting disability as disability is considered to be a stigma in many places/societies
  • Poor implementation of policies and schemes hinders the inclusion of disabled persons.
    • Though various acts and schemes have been laid down with an aim to empower the disabled, their enforcement face many challenges.

Way Forward:

  • Prevention:
    • Preventive health programs need to be strengthened and all children need to be screened at a young age.
    • Kerala has already started an early prevention programme. Comprehensive New-born Screening (CNS) programme seeks early identification of deficits in infants and reduce the state’s burden of disability.
  • Awareness:
    • People with disabilities need to be better integrated into society by overcoming stigma
    • There should be awareness campaigns to educate and aware people about different kinds of disability
    • Success stories of people with disabilities can be showcased to inculcate positive attitude among people
  • Employment:
    • Disabled adults need to be empowered with employable skills
    • The private sector needs to be encouraged to employ them.
    • Better measurement: The scale of disability in India needs to be better understood by improving the measurement of disability.
  • Education:
    • State-wise strategies on education for children with special needs need to be devised.
    • There should be proper teacher training to address the needs of differently-abled children and facilitate their inclusion in regular schools
    • Further there should be more special schools and ensure educational material for differently-abled children
  • Access:
    • Safety measures like road safety, safety in residential areas, public transport system etc, should be taken up
    • Further, it should be made legally binding to make buildings disabled-friendly
  • Policy Interventions:
    • More budgetary allocation for welfare of the disabled. There should be a disability budgeting on line of gender budget.
    • Proper implementation of schemes should be ensured. There should be proper monitoring mechanisms and accountability of public funds.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. In recent years, India and Australia countries have sought to deepen their economic ties, and their strategic partnership has become increasingly important given the geopolitical challenges in the region. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

None of Delhi’s bilateral relations has transformed as rapidly in the past few years as that with Canberra. The same can be said of India’s place in Australia’s international relations. Few international observers would have bet a decade ago that the relationship between India and Australia, which ranged from prickly to indifferent in the second half of the 20th century, would become a valued strategic partnership for both in the 21st.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various facets of India-Australia relations especially with respect to space, critical minerals, strategic research, people-to-people links, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific.

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: 

Start with brief background of the context of the question.

Body:

First, write about the various aspects of growing trade between India and Australia – recently introduced Update to Australia’s India Economic Strategy, space, critical minerals, strategic research and people-to-people links to boost cooperation with India, business engagement and an increased Australian presence in India etc.

Next, write about the geopolitical challenges – formation of AUKUS, QUAD and overall aspect of China.

Next, write about various bottlenecks in bilateral ties between both the nations.

Conclusion:

Suggest a way forward and conclude.

Introduction

India and Australia have several commonalities, which serve as a foundation for closer cooperation and multifaceted interaction, on lines similar to what India has developed with other Western countries. Both are strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies.

The relationship has grown in strength and importance since India’s economic reforms in the nineties and has made rapid strides in all areas – trade, energy and mining, science & technology, information technology, education and defence.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit this week to India will consolidate and build on the expansive gains of the past few years in a range of areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Thursday commemorated 75 years of India and Australia’s diplomatic relations through cricket at the Narendra Modi stadium in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

 Body

Convergence between India-Australia

  • Rule of law: Apart from being two English-speaking, multicultural, federal democracies that believe in and respect the rule of law
  • Strategic interest: Both have a strategic interest in ensuring a balance in the Indo-Pacific andin ensuring that the region is not dominated by any one hegemonic power.
  • Skilled migrants: In addition, Indians are today the largest source of skilled migrants in Australia.
  • Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA): The economic relationship, already robust, could potentially be transformed if the promise of the new Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA)is realized.

Trade partners and strategic allies

  • Convergence: Chinese aggression and assertive foreign policy arecommon concerns and has brought both the democracies closer. Both have shared interests in vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
    • Both are part of QUAD, and also proposed Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.
    • Australia’s Pacific Step Up and India’s Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)reaffirm their cooperation in the South Pacific region.
  • Economic relations: Bilateralgoods and services trade between two was $30.3 billion in 2018-19, and the level of two-way investment was $30.7 billion in 2018.
    • In 2018, Australia announced implementation of “An India Economic Strategy to 2035”, a vision document to shape India- Australia bilateral ties.
    • India is also preparing an Australia Economic Strategy Paper (AES)on similar lines.
    • This was after fallout of Australia and China.
  • Progress after fallout with China: Elevated the “2+2” engagement to the level of Foreign and Defence Ministers (from secretary level), where strategic discussions will be taking place every two years. India already has such mechanism with USA and Japan.
    • Both have shared interests in vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
    • Both are part of QUAD, and also proposed Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.
    • Australia’s Pacific Step Up and India’s Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)reaffirm their cooperation in the South Pacific region.
  • Technology and Research: The two nations are working on a new and renewable energy partnership, to support the development of technologies such as green hydrogen and ultra-low cost solar.
    • Australia is also supporting research and investment to unlock Australian critical minerals for Indian advanced manufacturing.
  • Defence and security cooperation: Both signed Strategic Partnership, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009.
    • Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement wassigned 2014 between two, enabling India to secure uranium from Australia.

Limitations of India-Australia ties

  • Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)still remains inconclusive after9 rounds of negotiations.
  • India opted out fromRegional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Among other things, India and Australia could not agree regarding market access over agriculture and dairy products.
  • Australia’s economy is heavily dependent on China, with China being Australia’s largest trading partner, accounting for 26 % of its trade with the world.
  • The prospects for bilateral relationship are recognized in both countries as strategically useful, economically productive and aligned with each other’s new agenda.
    • However, it is recognized that the natural synergy has so far not been exploited fully.
    • Countries should conclude CECA at the earliest, to realize the economic opportunities.

Way forward

  • Enhancing shared framework: While this is the first Dialogue since 2019, two nations have only grown closer together through enhancing shared framework for regional security, promoting business and commercial opportunities and strengthening people to people links, bilaterally and multilaterally.
  • Fifth largest global economy: As India marks 75 years of Independence and surpasses the United Kingdom as the fifth largest global economy, the momentum around this fifth Australia-India Leaderships Dialogue and the bilateral fruit it may bear should not be underestimated.
  • Diplomatic maneuvering and economic and military assertion: Appropriate diplomatic maneuvering and economic and military assertion is vital for the implementation of India’s interests in the Indi-Pacific region along with leveraging space as a building block for a multipolar world order.
  • Rule based multipolar order: India’s view is to work with other like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific region to cooperatively manage a rules-based multipolar regional order and prevent any single power from dominating the region or its waterways.

Conclusion

Based on several commonalities and closely aligned values in principles of democracy, liberty, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, free press and multiculturalism both must enhance the bilateral relationship by expanding engagement in various sectors like defence industry and commercial cyber activity etc.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Taxation is essential for the proper functioning of government and the economy, and it is necessary to support the public good and promote fairness and equity. Elaborate. (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 objectives of taxation in the country.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context about taxation and its types.

Body:

Write about the need of taxation – revenue generation, redistribution of income and wealth, encouraging savings and investments, promoting economic growth, controlling inflation, promoting social and economic development, promoting fairness and equity, addressing market failures, and stabilizing the economy. Cite statistics and examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A tax is a legal fee or financial charge levied by the government on an individual or an organization. This Tax is used is collected as revenue for public works done by the government like – health infrastructure, education infrastructure, transport services like Metro, buses, etc. Taxation imposes a financial obligation on its citizens or residents. The Central and State government plays a significant role in determining the taxes in India.

Body

Importance of Taxation

  • Economic development – Resource mobilization for economic development is done through taxation. To step up both public and private investment, government taps tax revenues. Through proper tax planning, the ratio of savings to national income can be raised.
  • Income redistributionthrough taxes is meant to reduce inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth.
  • Employment depends on effective demand. A country desirous of achieving the goal of full employment must cut down the rate of taxes. Consequently, disposable income will rise and, hence, demand for goods and services will rise. Increased demand will stimulate investment leading to a rise in income and employment through the multiplier mechanism.
  • Price stability, through taxes, is an effective means of controlling inflation. By raising the rate of direct taxes, private spending can be controlled. Thus, the pressure on the commodity market is reduced. But, indirect taxes imposed on commodities fuel inflationary tendencies. High commodity prices, on the one hand, discourage consumption and, on the other hand, encourage saving. The opposite effect will occur when taxes are lowered down during deflation.
  • The government uses taxes for a variety of purposes, including
    • Infrastructure funding for the public sector
    • Projects for development and welfare
    • Defense spending
    • Public insurance based on scientific research
    • Employees of the state and government are paid a variety of salaries.
    • The operation of the government’s public transportation system
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Pension plans
    • Enforcement of the law
    • Public health, education, and water, energy, and waste management systems are examples of public utilities.

Conclusion

Thus, taxes have both advantages and disadvantages, but no one can deny that they are important to generate revenue. While direct taxes can be collected from the rich, indirect taxes give an opportunity to the poor to contribute in their own small way. The control of these taxation systems has a huge scope to bring about a change. For these reasons, the taxation of a country is critically important for the economy.

 

Topic: Government Budgeting.

5. List the key announcements made in the Union Budget of 2023-24. In your opinion, does the budget strike a balance between its objectives of promoting growth through increased public investment and controlling the fiscal deficit? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

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 major announcements and potential of budget in balancing growth and fiscal stability.

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 giving context of Union Budget of 2023-24.

Body:

In the first part, write about the major initiatives proposed in the Union Budget for 2023-24 – Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program, Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF), Entity DigiLocker and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 etc.

Next, write the measures enumerated in the budget in order to promote growth.

Next, write about the measures proposed in order to contain deficit and achieve fiscal stability.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion on the overall nature of the budget.

Introduction

The Union Budget 2023-24 presented by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs in the Parliament recently outlined the vision of Amrit Kaal which shall reflect an empowered and inclusive economy.

Body

Major Announcements of Union Budget 2023-24

  • Resilience amidst multiple crises: The economic growth is estimated at 7%, which is the highest among all major economies, despite the massive global slowdown caused by COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine War.
  • G20 Presidency: With the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, India is steering an ambitious, people-centric agenda to address global challenges and facilitate sustainable economic development.
  • Achievements since 2014 – Leaving no one behind:

  • Vision for Amrit Kaal – An empowered and inclusive economy:
    • The term ‘Amrit Kaal’ comes from Vedic astrology and indicates a sort ofgolden era.
    • It signifies that the coming period in India is going to be its most prosperous, with economic growth andsocial justice.
    • ‘Amrit Kaal’ also describes the hope for a better future, where India would be self-reliant and fulfil all of its humanitarian obligations.
  • Future prospects: This Budget hopes to build on the foundation laid in the previous Budget, and the blueprint drawn for India@100, which envisions a prosperous and inclusive India.

The Budget Estimates 2023-24:

 

 

  • The total receiptsother than borrowings and the total expenditure are estimated at Rs 27.2 lakh crore and Rs 45 lakh crore respectively.
  • The net tax receiptsare estimated at Rs 23.3 lakh crore and the fiscal deficit is estimated to be 9% of GDP.
    • Set to benefit the economy because it means more funds available for private players.
    • The government has decided to continue the path of fiscal consolidation, reaching a fiscal deficit of below 4.5% by 2025-26.
  • To finance the fiscal deficit in 2023-24, the net market borrowings from dated securities are estimated at Rs 11.8 lakh crore.
    • The balance financing is expected to come from small savings and other sources.
    • The gross market borrowings are estimated at Rs 15.4 lakh crore.
  • The capital expenditureby the government has been raised to Rs 10 lakh crore. This is more than double the amount of money allocated when compared to 2020-21.
    • Capital expenditureis the money that is spent on building productive assets such as roads and bridges and ports.
    • This has a greater return to the economyand every Rs 100 spent leads to a Rs 250 gain for the economy. Revenue expenditure returns less than Rs 100.

Opinion on Budget

  • Keeping the fiscal deficit limited to 6.4(six point four)% of GDP in the current fiscal despite a sharp increase in food and fertilizer subsidies, by ₹2 lakh crore.
  • Despite the revenue deficit increasing in absolute terms, from ₹9.9(nine point nine)lakh crorein the Budget estimate to ₹11.1(eleven point one) lakh crore in the revised estimate
    • As a percentage of GDP, it was from 3.8(three point eight)% of GDP to 4.1(four point one)%.
  • Case of fiscal deficit: The increase was by ₹1 lakh crore — from ₹16.6(sixteen point six) lakh crore to ₹17.6(seventeen point six)lakh crore, but it was contained at 4(six point four)% of GDP mainly due to the increase in the nominal value of GDP and also the increase in tax collections.
  • Greater allocation to infrastructure spending
  • Capital expenditure is budgeted to increase from 7(two point seven)% of GDP to3(three point three)%.
  • The Reserve Bank of India has estimations:the multiplier effect of capital expenditure at 1.2(one point two).
    • It should help revive the sagging investment climate.
  • The continuation of the interest-free loan to States to augment their capital expenditures should help in increasing States’ capital expenditures as well.
  • The 6.5(six point five)% growth rate for 2023-24 estimated in the Economic Survey: It could indeed materialize with the budgeted increase in infrastructure spending.

Way forward

  • Capital expenditure has a significant ‘crowding in’ effect: It should help to increase private capital expenditures as well.
    • This comes after the 25% increase in capital expenditures in the last Budget.
  • The increased capital spending should help revive the investment climate further and arrest the declining trend in the overall investment-GDP ratio in the country.
  • The Finance Minister in the 2020-21 Budgethad stated that the government would bring down the fiscal deficit to 4.5(four point five)% by 2025-26.
    • In the next three years, the deficit will have to be reduced by 9(one point nine)percentage points.
  • Overall this is a well-crafted Budget,but its success will depend on its implementation.

 

Topic: money laundering and its prevention.

6. Cryptocurrencies have been associated with money laundering due to their perceived anonymity and lack of regulation. The inclusion of virtual digital assets in the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 is first step in tackling illicit activities via cryptocurrencies. However, there are major challenges in implementation of the same. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

In a gazette notification, the Finance Ministry said the anti-money laundering legislation has been applied to crypto trading, safekeeping and related financial services.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about cryptocurrencies and money laundering and ways to prevent it.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part, write about use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering and challenges associated with it – cryptocurrencies to launder money by converting illicit funds into cryptocurrency and then transferring them through various accounts to obscure the original source of the funds.

Next, write about the inclusion of cryptocurrency in PMLA,2002 and its implication. Write about the challenges in the enforcement of the same and suggest steps to overcome them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority. It is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

On March 7, the government issued a notification bringing transactions involving crypto assets under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It laid out the nature of transactions to be covered under PMLA.

Body

Cryptocurrency and money laundering

  • Criminals open online accounts with digital currency exchanges, which accept fiat currency from traditional bank accounts. Then, they start a ‘cleansing’ process (mixing and layering), i.e., moving money into the cryptocurrency system by using mixers, tumblers, and chain hopping (also called cross-currency). Money is moved from one cryptocurrency into another, across digital currency exchanges — the less-regulated the better — to create a money trail that is almost impossible to track.
  • According to the “Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report,” criminals also use theft and gambling to launder cryptocurrencies.
  • Creation of Dark Web or Dark Market which cause it to exploit users through hacking.
  • With a market capitalization of $350 billion, bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency in the world. A distinctive feature of bitcoin is that a record of all transactions is held in a public ledger maintained simultaneously across thousands of computers. As per bitcoin proponents, the latter are prone to manipulation or hacking.
  • Cryptocurrency does not have any legal tender. So, it cannot be authorized and can be subscribed by anyone which results in money laundering.
  • Since it doesn’t have regulatory authority, it is easy to trade between countries and can cause money laundering in disguise of trading.
  • Cryptocurrency is highly encrypted and cannot be traced easily.
  • Layering: Cryptocurrencies can be purchased with cash (fiat) or other types of crypto (altcoin). Online cryptocurrency trading markets (exchanges) have varying levels of compliance with regulations regarding financial transactions. Legitimate exchanges follow regulatory requirements for identity verification and sourcing of funds and are Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliant. Other exchanges are not as AML compliant. This vulnerability is where most transactions related to bitcoin money laundering take place.
  • Hiding: Crypto-based transactions can generally be followed via the blockchain. However, once a dirty cryptocurrency is in play, criminals can use an anonymizing service to hide the funds’ source, breaking the links between bitcoin transactions. This can be accomplished both on regular crypto exchanges or by participating in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where using one type of coin to pay for another type, can obfuscate the digital currency’s origin.
  • Integration: The point at which you can no longer easily trace dirty currency back to criminal activity is the integration point – the final phase of currency laundering. Despite the currency no longer being directly tied to crime, money launderers still need a way to explain how they came into possession of the currency. Integration is that explanation. A simple method of legitimizing the illicit income is to present it as the result of a profitable venture or other currency appreciation. This can be very hard to disprove in a market when the value of any given altcoin can change by the second.
  • Tumblers: Mixing services, known as “tumblers,” can effectively split up the dirty cryptocurrency. Tumblers send it through a series of various addresses, then recombine it. The reassembly results in a new, “clean” total (less any service fees, which can often be substantial.
  • Unregulated Exchanges: Another avenue through which criminals can undertake bitcoin money laundering is unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Peer to Peer: To lower bitcoin money laundering risk, many criminals turn to decentralized peer-to-peer networks which are frequently international. Here, they can often use unsuspecting third parties to send funds on their way to the next destination.
  • Gaming site: Online gambling and gaming through sites that accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is another way to conduct a crypto money-laundering scheme. Crypto can be used to buy credit or virtual chips which users can cash out again after just a few small transactions.

 

Crypto assets covered under PMLA

  • Exchange between virtual digital assets and fiat currencies; exchange between one or more forms of virtual digital assets
  • Transfer of virtual digital assets.
  • Safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets or instruments enabling control over virtual digital assets.
  • Participation in and provision of financial services related to an issuer’s offer and sale of a virtual digital asset.
  • The measure is expected to aid investigative agencies in carrying out action against crypto firms.
  • The Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department have either probed or are probing several cases against companies running cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions. ED, for instance, froze the bank balances of the popular WazirX exchange last year.

Conclusion

Publicly, the cryptocurrency industry has largely welcomed the move. Internally, however, there are concerns that the notification does not offer entities time to adhere to the fresh norms. The industry is also concerned that in the absence of a central regulator, crypto entities could end up dealing directly with enforcement agencies like the ED.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: ethics – in private and public relationships

7. Maintaining ethical behaviour in personal relationships can be challenging, as emotions, desires, and expectations often come into play. But with effort and practice, healthy relationships can be built on integrity, mutual trust and respect. Discuss.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Key demand of the question:

To write about building healthy personal relationships rooted in ethics.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving context.

Body:

Write about the challenges associated with maintaining ethical behaviour in personal relationships.

Next, write about the ways to overcome the above challenges – respecting others, being honest, communicating openly, setting healthy boundaries, and practicing empathy.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Private relationships are often given (For e.g. Life partner, Friends) or inherited (For e.g. Parents) that are relatively permanent with more tolerance for imperfections. Ethics in private relationships refers to the basic principles and values that govern interactions with family members, life partners, friends etc. They are based on emotional bonds rather than any formal procedure that regulates them and therefore, informal in nature. This can be best understood from the Life of Karna (A character from Mahabharata) whose friendship for Duryodhan broke all boundaries of even blood relationships since he fought against his own brothers (Pandavas) to honour the Ethics of friendship.

Body

A private relationship is a more exclusive form of relationship where two people are committed to one another. The only people who know about their relationship are those close to them and they usually don’t talk about it with others. In a private relationship, there is an expectation that both parties will respect each other’s privacy, which means staying out of each other’s lives unless you have been specifically asked for help or support.

Personal relationships

  • Care and Affection – Emotional bond of affection and care goes beyond limitations. This bond is not driven by legal rules or quid pro quo but by human emotions. For instance, In Mahabharata, King Dhritrashtra had unconditional affection for his sons despite of their misdeeds and always took their side while being the King of Hastinapur.
  • Fidelity – This is key driver of marital relationship and essence of Ethics of marriage. It refers to being loyal to one’s life partner and avoid sensual distraction or committing adulterous act.
  • Confidentiality – In order to maintain sanctity of private relationships, secrecy and privacy are of paramount importance. For example, we generally restrain ourselves to share secrets of our friend, colleague, life partner etc. without their permission else it would bring disharmony in such relationships.
  • Truthfulness – Truthfulness is the key demand in private relationships. It amplifies the mutual trust and strengthens the emotional bonds in such relationships. For instance, being always truthful helps in avoiding unnecessary conflicts that may arise out of one’s alleged suspicious activities.
  • Responsibility & Accountability – In private relationships, one is bestowed with various responsibilities such responsibility towards child, life partner, parents etc. This requires fulfilling the responsibility towards them and also being accountable to them, in case of non-fulfilment of responsibility.
  • Tolerance and acceptance of minor imperfections – Human beings can never achieve perfection thus there is bound to be conflict in private relationships in absence of any prescribed rules and regulations. Therefore, one must accommodate the imperfections of others to bring peace and harmony in such relationships. For instance, your wife is quite introvert in public interactions, you being a civil servant doesn’t like this but tolerate it for peaceful marital life.

As we know, relationship is an inescapable necessity in our life since our personality is the mere manifestation of how we manages these relationships. For instance, personality of a crook is nothing but the troubled relationship, he shares at personal and societal level. Thus, there is a need to manage these relationships in proper manner by upholding concerned ethical principles as discussed above.

Conclusion

Ethics is an individual’s moral beliefs. There are many factors that can influence one’s ethical decisions, from their religious values to simply what they have been taught by others. Ethics is a personal matter and should not be judged by other people outside of your own personal beliefs.


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