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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 May 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. The policies implemented by Mikhail Gorbachev certainly played a significant role in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Analyse. (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.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union and role of Mikhail Gorbachev in it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving context of Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika.

Body:

First, in detail explain the polices of Glasnost and Perestroika and their impact on the Soviet Union and how they played a part in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Next, write about the other factors that were responsible for the fall of Soviet Union apart the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion on the issue.

Introduction

Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of United USSR. He was the young and dynamic soviet leader who wanted to reform communist regime on the lines of democratic principles  by giving some freedom to citizens. Gorbachev, who passed away recently, had set out to revitalise the moribund Communist system and shape a new union based on a more equal partnership between the 15 republics, of which the two most powerful were Russia and Ukraine. Yet in the space of six years, both Communism and the Union came crashing down.

Body

Gorbachev’s policies

  • Gorbachev identified the economic and political problems of USSR, and started a series of reforms like Perestroikaand Glasnost with the intention to revive economy.
  • He recognised the policy of Glasnost or freedom of speechwhich was severely curtailed during earlier regime.
  • He began a program of economic reform called Perestroika or Restructuringwhich was necessary as Soviet economy was suffering from both hidden inflation and supply shortages
  • Cultural freedoms were granted to the press and the artistic community during Gorbachev’s time
  • He launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus.
  • Thousands of political prisoners and their dissidents were released during his rule
  • He is accredited with the success of nuclear disarmament agreement with USA which won him Nobel Peace Prize.

Did Policies of Gorbachev lead to fall of soviet union?

  • The policies were a deviation from the communist policies, and was more closely associated with the market economy. Many communist leaders in USSR opposed reforms initiated by Gorbachev.  They encouraged a coup in 1991.
  • The second part of Gorbachev’s plan, glasnost, addressed the personal restrictions of the Soviet people.
  • For decades, citizens lived without freedom of speech, the press or religion, and the State arrested millions of potential dissidents. Gorbachev’s glasnost plan gave the Soviet people a voice they were free to express.
  • Gorbachev’s reforms did more to hasten the fall of the Soviet Union than they did to save it. By loosening controls over the people and making reforms to the political and economic elites, the Soviet government appeared weak and vulnerable to the Soviet people.
  • They used their newfound powers to organize and critique the government, and in 1991, they successfully ended Soviet rule.

However, there were other factors too aiding the downfall of Soviet Union

  • Economic Weakness
    • The weakness of the economy was the major cause of dissatisfaction among the people in USSR. There was severe shortage of consumer items. The reason for economics weakness were the following.
    • Huge military spending.
    • Maintenance of satellite states in Easter Europe.
    • Maintenance of the Central Asian Republics within the USSR.
  • Western aggression:-
    • US under Reagan’s leadership led to a massive increase in American military spending, as well as research into new and better weapons.
    • US supported the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which nullified the Soviet nuclear arsenal by destroying missiles as they fell and made a nuclear war theoretically winnable for the United States.
    • US did not just attack the Soviets with military spending. He also attacked their economy. The United States isolated the Soviets from the rest of the world economy, and helped drive oil prices to their lowest levels in decades. Without oil revenue to keep their economy solvent, the Soviet Union began to crumble.
  • Political Un-accountability
    • The communist party regime (single party rule) for around 70 years turned authoritarian. There was widespread corruption, nepotism and lack of transparency.
    • Gorbachev’s decision to allow elections with a multi-party system and create a presidency for the Soviet Union began a slow process of democratization that eventually destabilized Communist control and contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • Rise of nationalism
    • Rise of nationalism among countries like Russia, Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Ukraine, Georgia etc is the most important and immediate cause of disintegration of the USSR.

Conclusion

The fall of USSR led to end of many communist regimes in response to mass protests, end of cold war leading to unipolar world dominated by US etc

 

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

2. Examine the causes and concerns associated with the erosion of the traditional Indian family structure. How has this transformation affected Indian society? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the erosion of the traditional Indian family structure and highlights the causes and concerns associated with this phenomenon.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about erosion of the traditional Indian family structure and its impact.

Directive:

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:

First, Discuss in points as to how the modern family system in India has developed in India and how it has strengthened individual choices and changed the social realities.

Next, write about factors responsible for erosion of the traditional Indian family structure – hanging societal values, urbanization, globalization, and economic factors

Next, write about the impact of the same – loneliness, lack of support systems, intergenerational disconnect, and an increased focus on individualism.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to address the above issues.

Introduction

The Supreme Court has done well by offering India an inclusive definition of a family unit. We must go beyond old norms to assure everyone their basic right to look after loved ones.

The inherent conservatism in society, culture and law tends to hold up the normative family—father, mother, children (add grandchildren and relatives who form kinship networks)—as the only such unit worthy of recognition, ever ready to discourage any deviations. But, as our Supreme Court observed this week, this assumption goes against the lived realities of people and ignores the fact that “many families do not conform” to this patriarchal norm.

Body

Evolution in Indian family structures and recent developments

  • The remarks of India’s top court, in a dispute over maternity benefits, make a powerful intervention.
  • They expand the idea of the ‘family’ beyond the narrow heterosexual nuclear unit. The case involved anurse in a government hospital who was denied maternity leave because she had taken time off earlier to care for her husband’s children from a previous marriage.
  • The courtrejected the argument that her “atypical” family doesn’t qualify for what others are accorded under the law.
  • The apex court noted that the familial relationships may take the form of domestic, unmarried partnerships or queer relationships.These manifestations of love and families may not be typical but they are as real as their traditional counterparts and equally deserving not only of protection under the law but also of the benefits available under social welfare legislation.
  • In doing so, thecourt lived up to its record as an institution that has often wielded the Constitution to expand our freedoms and ease clamps on the personal lives of citizens.
  • The biggest signpost of this welcome approach was its 2018 decision to strike down a colonial-era law that criminalized same-sex relationships.

Obstacles that still remain

  • In the long struggle to bend social conservatism towards greater freedom, the Supreme Court’s redefinition of a family can prove to be a vital ally.
  • This becomes clear when we think of how thestate continues to back antiquated ideas of ‘family’, even though social values and the law have moved on to embrace individual liberty.
  • For instance, theCentre has steadfastly opposed a petition seeking registration of same-sex unions under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, arguing that “our values” are opposed to it.
  • Recently passed laws continue to discriminate against queer couples (or even single men), by denying them the right to raise children through adoption or surrogacy.
  • All these restrictions stifle the fundamental rights granted to all by the Constitution.
  • For same-sex partners, the lack of marriage recognition makes it hard to take care of loved ones in elementary ways—say, by buying a family health insurance cover, opening a joint bank account or having one’s property automatically inherited by a partner.

Causes for the changes in the family structure

  • Changes in family: Family which was a principal unit of production has been transformed in the consumption unit. Instead of all members working together in an integrated economic enterprise, a few male members go out of the home to earn the family’s living. These affected family
  • Factory employment: It has freed young adults from direct dependence upon their families. This functional independence of the youngsters has weakened the authority of the head of the household over those earning members. In many cities even women too joined men in working outside the families on salary
  • Influence of urbanization: Various sociologists have revealed that the city life is more favorable to small nuclear families than to big joint families. Thus, urban living weakens joint family pattern and strengthens nuclear family
  • Legislative measures: Prohibition of early marriage and fixing the minimum age of marriage by the child marriage Restraint Act, 1929, and the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 have lengthened the period of education. Even other legislations such as the Widow Remarriage Act, 1856, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Hindu succession Act, 1956, all have modified inter personal relations within the family, the composition of the family and the stability of the joint
  • Changes in marriage system: Changes in the age of marriage, freedom in mate-selection and change in the attitude towards marriage has diminished marriage is not very much considered a religious affair but only a social ceremony. Modern marriage does not symbolize the superior authority of the family head over other
  • Influence of western values: Values relating to modern science, rationalism, individualism, equality, free life, democracy, freedom of women etc. have exerted a tremendous change on the joint family system in
  • Changes in the position of women: Main factor causing changes in the position of women in our society lie in her changing economic role. New economic role provided a new position in society and especially with respect to men.

Concerns due to changing family structure

Changing Gender RolesFor instance, if a woman desires a career outside the home but is expected to prioritize domestic responsibilities, conflicts may arise.
Generational GapWhen younger members adopt different values, lifestyles, and beliefs than their older relatives.
Urbanization and MobilityAs individuals seek better opportunities or education, they may move away from their extended families, leading to a decrease in close-knit family support networks.
Influence of TechnologyTechnology can impact traditional family dynamics, with increased screen time and virtual interactions potentially diminishing the sense of togetherness within the family.
Excessive emphasis on IndividualismFor example, candid and heart-to-heart dialogues between husband-wife and parent-children are becoming rare. They have become too formal and superficial. This challenges the collectivist nature of traditional family systems.
Excessive FormalisationFrom birthdays to weddings and house-warmings to condolence meetings, everything is being made into a formal event. This creates the “crisis of authenticity” of our interpersonal feelings.
Cultural and Social ChangesCultural and social changes, such as globalization and exposure to diverse perspectives, can challenge traditional family norms and values.
Balancing Work and FamilyThe traditional family system may face difficulties in accommodating individual aspirations while maintaining traditional family roles and responsibilities.

Way forward

Promote Inter-generational BondingUsing storytelling, family meals, and cultural celebrations.
Strengthen Communication and DialoguePromote dialogue that goes beyond formalities and embraces deeper emotional connections.
Value Traditional Values and CustomsEncourage the preservation of traditional values, customs, and cultural practices within the family, ensuring that they are passed down to younger generations.
Foster Mutual Support and CareE.g., provide emotional support during challenging times and engage in acts of kindness and assistance.
Balance Individualism and CollectivismE.g., Encourage family members to pursue personal goals while maintaining a sense of togetherness, shared decision-making, and a commitment to the welfare of the family unit.
Embrace Modern Technology ResponsiblyE.g., Encouraging the use of technology for virtual family gatherings, sharing updates, and staying connected across distances.
Promote Gender Equality and EmpowermentAdvocate for gender equality within the family, promoting shared responsibilities, equal opportunities, and empowering women to pursue their aspirations.

 

Woman-led, child-focused and elderly-sensitive families are the need of the hour

Conclusion

 The traditional Indian family system holds immense value and significance in providing emotional support, socialization, identity formation, and a sense of belonging. Reviving and nurturing the traditional family system can contribute to the well-being of individuals, the cohesion of society, and the preservation of cultural heritage.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

3. Fiscal federalism is crucial for the smooth functioning of a federal system of government. The Indian government should take steps to address the various issues in fiscal federalism and implement measures to enhance the autonomy of States in financial matters. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the evolution of fiscal federalism in India, issues in it and measures needed to overcome the issues.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining fiscal federalism in India.

Body:

First, give a brief about the development of fiscal federalism in India since independence.

Next, write about the various issues with respect to fiscal federalism in India – opacity, GST issues, FRMBA, impact of the pandemic etc.

Next, write about the measures needed to rectify the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

While fiscal federalism in India has a long history, its practice has grown increasingly opaque over the years. Serious attention is required to improve its principles and practices. The India of today, notably through its governance “matrix”, economic development, institution-building and multilateral relations, are vastly different from the India that drafted its constitution in 1950. India is going through a transition in its intergovernmental relations. Boundaries based on linguistic factors and administrative convenience are blurring, given changes brought on by innovation and migration. Socio-economic trends such as technological change, rising mobility and market integration will affect the future of fiscal federalism in India.

Body

Development of fiscal federalism in India

  • Broadly speaking, with the evolution of fiscal federalism in India, there has beenmarked stability in its process and procedures.
  • The annual budgetary processes of both the central and federal governments are independent exercisesand must pass through the Parliament or state legislature.
  • The Finance Commission, which was first constituted in 1951, performs the functions broadly enshrined inArticle 280 of the Indian Constitution.
  • For most of the post-independence era, the existence of the Planning Commission injected centralising dependence in more ways than one.
    • The Planning Commissionbecame a parallel institution for the transfer of resources from the Union of States.
  • While the focus of the Finance Commission remained on the revenue account, the Planning Commission was concerned predominantly with the capital account.
  • Successive Finance Commissions commented on this as being inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution in the devolution of resources.
  • There were other developments, like the73rd and 74th Amendments of the Constitution in 1992 giving status to Panchayat Raj institutions and Urban Local Bodies with specific functions assigned to them under the 11th and 12th schedules.
  • The Fourteenth Finance Commission decided that 42% of NDP (net divisible pool) should go to the subnational governments by way of devolution, or net proceeds of taxes, and the balance should go to the central government. In addition, after projecting the likely growth rates of individual subnational governments and their likely buoyancy in appropriate cases, a revenue deficit grant under Article 275 was given.

 

Various issues regarding fiscal federalism in India

  • GST: States have lost the autonomy to decide the tax rates of subjects that fall within the State List.
    • Previously, state governments used to fix tax rates by taking into account their spending requirements, revenue base, etc.
    • The inability of states to fix tax rates to match their development requirements implies greater dependence on the centre for funds.
  • Cess and surcharges: Another emerging challenge is that cesses and surcharges are becoming a disproportionate proportion of the overall divisible revenue, withnon-tax revenues being kept outside the divisible pool.
    • These are worrisome issues, and there should be some mechanism to ensure that the basic spirit of the devolution process should not be undercut by clever financial engineering or by the manipulation of methods that makes them technical and legally tenable, but perhaps not morally so.
  • Increasing dependency on Centre: The dependency of states on the Centre for revenues has increased, with the share of the revenue from own sources declining from 55% in 2014-15 to 50.5% in 2020-21.
    • While part of this is inherent in India’s fiscal structure, wherein states are the big spenders and the Centre controls the purse strings, the situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of the GST.
    • Barring a few exceptions, such as petroleum products, property tax, and alcohol excise, indirect taxes have, to a large degree, been subsumed under the GST regime, eroding the ability of states to raise their own revenues.
  • Shortfall in devolution:Adding to state woes is the significant divergence in past periods between the amount of GST compensation owed and the actual payments made, including for states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand that need greater fiscal support.
    • Even before Covid-19 hit, 11 states estimated a revenue growth rate below the estimated 14% level, implying higher amounts will be owed as GST compensation.
    • With the bulk of the states’ GST coming from goods such as electronics, fashion, and entertainment — all of which have been impacted by the pandemic — these revenues are likely to decline further.

Measures needed

To sum up, for a large federal country of a mind-boggling diversity, India’s ability to fight Covid-19 pandemic largely rests on how well it manages its Centre-state relation.

  • When compared with other large federal countries such as the US, the country has done very well to minimize the frictions and provide a sense of direction to the states.
  • However, tackling Covid-19 as seen from the experience of other countries would require adifferential and agile response across states and the Centre has at best to play the role of a mentor in providing leadership and resource support.
  • The rigid approach as evident in lockdown phase would prove a major hurdle. States must becleared their dues and be given ample fiscal space to ensure economy is revived.
  • States must be allowed to lead in terms of reviving economy, generating income support, jobs while contain the virus at the same time.
  • The next big change will come when the current Centre-state relationship gets redefined in a way that enables the 28 states to become federal in the true sense – as self-sustaining economic territories in matters of energy, water, food production and waste recycling.
  • Our economic geography of production, transport and communication has to change – it has to become distributive rather than being focused towards the Centre.
  • Centrally distributed funds will need to be directed specifically to build the capacities of each state.
    • The instruments will enable them to embark on a sustainable economic recovery whose base is widely distributed across the various panchayats and districts of each state.
    • Driving distributive recovery will be energy, transport, supply chains, public administration, rule of law, agriculture and rural development.
  • a buoyant tax system can ease the battle for resources in our federal system, and hopefully minimize the mistrust that has grown in recent years between the Centre and states.
  • The 15th Finance Commission has thus recommended a slew of fiscal reforms to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio, especially through an overhaul of the goods and services tax.
  • In short, the real cooperative federalism which the Centre has been espousing for many years is now put on test and the Centre must ensure states are given full cooperation to battle the challenge.

Conclusion

It is important now to rethink the design and structure of a genuine fiscal partnership, which should not merely be a race to garner more resources, but a creative attempt to move towards a vibrant Indian value chain that can catapult India’s growth rate closer to the quest for double-digit growth. Times of economic slowdown must be viewed anecdotally as they are transient in nature and cannot impair India’s vision, both with regard to its potential and its historical compulsions. It is necessary to recast the ideology in a more contemporary context; only then will the practice become more transparent, and India will benefit from congruence between its precepts and practice.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

4. It is important for the Enforcement Directorate to function in a neutral and independent manner to maintain the public’s trust in its ability to fight economic crimes. Comment. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article titled “Timely Caution” from The Hindu discusses the Supreme Court’s recent exhortation to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the functions of ED and why it is seen a political weapon and measures needed to counter its politicisation.

Directive:

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 stating the aims and objectives of ED and its mandate.

Body:

In the first part, write about the functions of ED in fighting economic crimes. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about reasons as to why ED is being seen a political weapon against political rival to settle scores. Mention the impact of the same.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to make it neutral and accountable.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was established in 1956. ED is responsible for enforcement of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and certain provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The ED Headquarters is situated at New Delhi.

The Directorate of Enforcement, with its Headquarters at New Delhi is headed by the Director of Enforcement. There are five Regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Delhi headed by Special Directors of Enforcement. Zonal Offices of the Directorate are headed by a Joint Director. The officers are appointed from Indian Revenue Service, Indian Corporate Law Service, Indian Police Service and Administrative Services.

Body

Background

  • The Enforcement Directorate recently searched a dozen locations, including the main office of the Congress-owned National Heraldnewspaper in Delhi, as part of its investigation into a money-laundering case,
  • The fresh ED raids come days after interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was grilled by the central agency for three days in connection with the National Herald House alleged money laundering case.
  • The Gandhis are being investigated in what is called the “National Herald case” involving the Young Indian’s takeover of Associated Journals Limited (AJL), the company that runs the National Herald newspaper founded by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Role of ED

  • ED investigates suspected violations of the provisions of the FEMA. Suspected violations includes, non-realization of export proceeds, “hawala transactions”, purchase of assets abroad, possession of foreign currency in huge amount, non-repatriation of foreign exchange, foreign exchange violations and other forms of violations under FEMA.
  • ED collects, develops and disseminates intelligence information related to violations of FEMA, 1999. The ED receives the intelligence inputs from Central and State Intelligence agencies, complaints etc.
  • ED has the power to attach the asset of the culprits found guilty of violation of FEMA. “Attachment of the assets” means prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an order issued under Chapter III of the Money Laundering Act [Section 2(1) (d)].
  • To undertake, search, seizure, arrest, prosecution action and survey etc. against offender of PMLA offence.
  • To provide and seek mutual legal assistance to/from respective states in respect of attachment/confiscation of proceeds of crime and handed over the transfer of accused persons under Money Laundering Act.
  • To settle cases of violations of the erstwhile FERA, 1973 and FEMA, 1999 and to decide penalties imposed on conclusion of settlement proceedings.
  • ED is playing a very crucial role in fighting the menace of corruption in the country.

ED as a political weapon

  • Tool for Political Vendetta: The governments of the day have been accused of brazenly using agencies like the ED, CBI to settle their own political scores.
    • There are concerns of Enforcement Directorate’s powers being misused to harass political opponents and intimidating them.
    • It is said that “Cases and probe agencies spring out of cold storage before elections, and turn cold soon after”.
    • Many have held the agencies’ moves as motivated, aimed at tilting the scales in favor of the incumbent government, done also through selective leaks by the agencies to browbeat political opponents.
  • The Investigation by ED is bound within the territory of India, while several high profile offenders have fled the country.
  • There is also a problem of manpower and intelligence gathering in Enforcement Directorate, that leads to delay in timely identification and prosecution of offenders.

Solution to address the issues:

  • Dedicated Fund and Grantfor the agency to ensure its independent functioning.
  • Separate Recruitment for Enforcement Directorate on the lines of Civil Services.
  • A separate Academy for training the manpower and to instill the right values and virtues in the functioning is needed.
    • To Act without malice, prejudice or bias, and not allow the abuse of power.
  • More powers to ED: Under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, ED can now confiscate properties of offenders outside India, which may not be ‘proceeds of crime’.
  • Separate wings within ED for intelligence, surveillance and investigation can bring more efficiency.
  • Standard Trainingfrom time to time, to sharpen the investigative skills, and learning from global best practices.

Conclusion

As a premier financial investigation agency of the Government of India, the Enforcement Directorate must function in strict compliance with the Constitution and Laws of India. It must endeavour to establish and maintain high professional standards and credibility.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. Examine the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of intellectual property (IP). What is your viewpoint on whether the management of intellectual property (IP) regulations poses a barrier to the advancement of innovation within the nation? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The PrintInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses a recent development involving the Delhi High Court’s call for the Indian government to review the Patents Act in light of the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of intellectual property (IP).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of AI on IPR, various issues in its administration of IPR and steps needed to resolve them.

Directive:

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: 

Start with the definition of IPR and its objectives.

Body:

First, write about the different types of IPRs.

Next, write about the impact on IPR due to growth in AI technologies.

Next, write about the various issues in IPRs administration – Patent Ever greening Prevention, Subsidies & IPR Issues, The Product Patents Process, Protecting traditional knowledge, Compulsory Licensing & Drug Price Control Order etc.

Next, write about the reforms that are needed.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion.

Introduction

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing at an exponential rate throughout the world. This boom raises the question of IP management in AI. There have been discussions and moderations but not a conclusion on the subject matter. The question as to the granting of special status to the work produced by an AI still persists.

There are a number of anomalies when it comes to the regulation of IPR within artificial intelligence. There are questions with reference to the ownership of patent and copyright and great concerns over the infringement issues and the penalties involved. Even with international agreements and conventions in place, there is no clarity on the law with the advancing technology.

Body

Background

  • The development model in India includes a huge amount of technological advancement which includes AI as well.
  • The use of AI is not limited to social media or entertainment but has accelerated to retail as well.
  • From online shopping to the use of online car services, the country saw a rapid change in the technology.
  • The issues in a developing country like India are of much more concern as it is the basic infrastructure which needs to be revised upon.
  • There are well-established patent and copyright laws in India.

 

Challenges posed by AI in realm of IPR

  • There is no particular act or provision to regulate AI specifically. The existing laws do not cover the ambit of AI and are based on the old intellectual property types like books, creative writing and discoveries.
  • The ambit of AI is much more complex and needs to be addressed in a particular way, different from the existing regime. Under the Patents Act of 1970, computer programs, business methods or mathematical formulae are not considered as patentable inventions.
  • Furthermore, the terms ‘patentee’ under Section 2 (p) of the said Act and ‘person interested’ under section 2 (t) of the said Act creates a barrier to include AI in its scope. The Act specifically terms out the patentee of any other person interested to be human.
  • Under the Copyright Act, there are two basic doctrines which define the originality of the work under this Act- Sweat of the Brow Doctrine and Modicum of Creativity.
  • Since the doctrine states that a minimum degree of creativity is also acceptable, the original work of AI can be included in it. However, the rights of copyright are given to the ‘author’ of the work done under section 2 (d) of the Act. Author in this act has been implied to be a human or legal person, thus, making the idea of machine to be protected under this act restricted.
  • The current regime and laws are not in consonance with the upcoming and even existing dynamics of technology. In a country with second largest population and majority of the people using social media sites and online shopping, it is crucial that the laws should be amended according to the new structure.
  •  The new technologies include various features like Amazon’s AI product ‘Alexa’ is being used as a security measure to lock doors at homes.
    •  In case of failure due to confusion or misunderstanding of AI, there are various questions such as- who will be made liable? Can the liability be shifted to the user?
  • Furthermore, any new invention based on same algorithm or same concept may hamper with the rights of the original owner. This becomes a serious issue. On one hand, it can discourage the start-ups to be inventive and thus, ruining the whole purpose and existence of IPR at the first place and on the other hand it can cause a series of litigation and chaos in the IPR sector.

Management of IP in consonance with advancement of innovation

There is a desperate need, now more than ever, to formulate IP laws which can secure the developments of AI innovation and reward new works and inventions through the copyright or patent award.

  • A specific test has to be formulated which can differentiate between AI created works and AI- aided works. The accurate IP holder can be determined, thereon.
  • The patent law clearly demarcates between an inventor and an invention but the category under which AI systems fall is not yet determined. The law has to be clearer and more specific and include such provisions in an understandable language.
  • Similarly, the definition of authorship under the copyright act should be examined and changes according to the changing dynamics.
  • There have been ambiguities in trademark laws as well. The status of AI as a customer and the functioning of AI, especially in case where human common sense plays a major role need to be defined.
  • WIPO has already taken cognizance of the upcoming issues with AI and the same has been discussed through various means, however, proper policy should be formulated in an international level.
  • A specific act has to be passed which deals with data protection with respect to the AI software. It must cover all the civil and criminal liabilities and offences which amount to the same.
  • IP sharing between the inventor of the AI and the AI itself can be a possibility in the years to come. It will become an essential part of the general advancement plan and maintainability. The future is loaded with indefinite possibilities and interesting motoring.

 

Conclusion

Presently, it is through the interpretation of the courts that the issues revolving around AI and IPR are being addressed. But there is a need for structured, analysed and clear rules and regulations. Amendments should be made in existing IPR laws to address the issue of AI as well. With the use of AI, there can be more benefit for future inventions. India has been potentially looking forward for ways to do. Niti Aayog in a discussion paper in 2018, described about the importance of AI in healthcare, education, infrastructure etc.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

6. The ethics of whistleblowing are complex and nuanced. While it can be seen as a necessary means to expose wrongdoing, protect the public interest, and hold organizations accountable, concerns about potential harm, confidentiality, and the importance of internal reporting channels should also be taken into account. Debate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of whistleblowing and debate its ethicality.

Directive:

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining whistleblowing.

Body:

Explain What are the moral and ethical justification of whistleblowing – whistleblowing is morally required when it is required at all; people have a moral obligation to prevent serious harm to others if they can do so with little costs to themselves. Mention how it prevents corruption. Give examples to justify your points.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by summarising its importance.

Introduction

A whistle-blower is a person who comes forward and shares his/her knowledge on any wrongdoing which he/she thinks is happening in the whole organisation or in a specific department. A whistle-blower could be an employee, contractor, or a supplier who becomes aware of any illegal activities. Personal Values and Organizational Culture are the Foundation of Whistle-blowing

A good civil servant is one who is kind, responsive, fair, has sense of duty, objective judgement skills with a hint of rebellion.

Body:

In the course of civil service, an officer is bound to face challenges of various types. One must find innovative solutions to such problems by working around the problems. However, when there are inevitable situations, it becomes necessary to whistle blow, albeit within the system.

Challenges in finding a solution from within the system:

  • Non-cooperation of peers
  • Inertia of status quo, the lack of incentive to accept change within the system
  • Pressure from politicians and other groups.
  • Threats of demotion and frequent transfers
  • lack of evidence in most of the cases renders his case weak

Merits of whistleblowing:

  • Exposing Unethical Behaviour: When corporations and government agencies step over legal and ethical lines, whistle-blowers can make these practices public knowledge, which can lead to violators being held accountable.
  • Take care of things internally: Stronger whistle-blower protection laws all over the world, such as in the EU and Australia, mean that if you do not listen to and act upon whistleblowing tips internally, people may decide to report externally, for example to the media, and are legally protected if they do so.
  • Reduce losses when misconduct occurs: Whistleblowing benefits organisations through significant loss savings. Organisations that did not have a whistleblowing system in place suffered losses that were twice the size compared to those who did have a whistleblowing system.
  • Build trust in your brand: 50% of the participants responded that building trust was the main benefit of a whistleblowing system. An openness to whistleblowing demonstrates a commitment to high ethical standards and builds trust in the company.
  • Ensure legal compliance: Having a system in place for whistleblowing benefits organisations by reducing compliance risk.

Demerits of whistleblowing:

  • The world, government, corporates and even society to an extent do not like whistle-blowers and some countries go so far as to call them ‘traitors’
  • The case of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange of Wikileaks proves the point
  • Whistle-blowers face legal action, criminal charges, social stigma, and termination from any position, office, or job.
  • Vindictive tactics to make the individual’s work more difficult and/or insignificant, assassination of character, formal reprimand, and difficult court proceedings

Ethical perspective:

The ethics of whistleblowing is a tricky matter. Whistle-blowing brings two moral values, fairness and loyalty, into conflict.

In the case where a company does serious harm through its service or product, the disclosure of such information for the sake of public constitute the ground for an understanding that takes whistleblowing as an ethical behaviour.

The situations where whistleblowing is morally justified:

  • Whenever and wherever the product/service of the firm will cause considerable harm to the public.
  • Whenever an employee feels serious threat or harm to him or anybody he should report to the firm.
  • If an immediate boss does not care for report (whistle blowing) the employee should go up to highest level to present his case.

Conclusion

A good civil servant would adhere to the foundational principles and fight against corrupt practices in a pragmatic way as the situation demands.

 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour;

7. The rising prevalence of various addictions among young people is a concerning issue that requires a compassionate and multi-faceted approach. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’.

Key Demand of the question: To write about taking empathetic approach towards de-addiction.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of rising forms of addictions – drugs, gaming, alcohol, social media etc.

Body:

First, bring out the adverse impact of addictions in brief.

Next, write about empathetic approach towards de-addiction – breaking the stigma, persuading, care ethics, compassionate support, follow up etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about saving the youth from various addictions.

Introduction

Addictive substances are chemicals that affect the body’s functioning. A person who is addicted focuses only on the rewards of the substance. Addiction can be of drugs, alcohol, gaming, social media validation etc.

He is likely to shirk personal and professional responsibilities, and avoid family and friends because he wishes to focus only on the habit. This addiction gradually affects his work and close relationships.

Body

Reasons for getting an addiction

  • Addiction is a learned coping behaviour that we pick up along the way.
  • Every human being responds to stressful life events in their own way.
  • Some people release their stress through exercise and working out. Others use food and overeating to cope with difficult life circumstances. For those who have been affected by addiction, the consumption of drugs or alcohol has been their coping mechanism.
  • At some point in the past, addicts and alcoholics used substances to cope with a stressful life event – and it worked.
  • The burden of life was not so heavy anymore. They felt they could finally manage their situation. Most of all, it gave them relief.

Harmful effects of addiction

  • Vulnerability to psychotic disorders, mental and behavioural problems
  • General health problems: liver damage (alcohol abuse), lung cancer (tobacco abuse), and damage to the nervous system (drug abuse). Alcohol and tobacco users are at a greater risk of developing cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
  • Toxicity, the risk for which increases when a person is addicted to both alcohol and tobacco
  • Risk-taking behaviour due to intoxication: This could include violence, reckless driving or sexual behaviour, causing domestic violence, accidents and injuries.
  • Sexual exposure (particularly among young women) and the possibility of contracting sexually transmitted diseases
  • Sepsis, infections and other transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS, in the case of injected drugs.
    • Many people believe that using the same needle repeatedly does not cause any infections because it isn’t shared with others.
    • However, this is not true. Using the same needles without sterilizing them can cause infections.
  • Social isolation or withdrawal due to the obsession with the substance
  • Problems with the law: caused by impaired judgment and risk-taking behaviour, or due to exploring illegal means to get hold of their next dose.

Empathetic approach towards Addicts and helping in de-addiction

  • Empathy and understanding work for addiction, not because they are a non-intervening, permissive attitude. But, knowing just how difficult it is to give up something you love (drugs and alcohol) makes the person who is addicted realize that you’re willing to understand, to relate.
  • The long-term recovery is dependent upon a holistic approach to treatment. We are fortunate to live in a moment of human history, where there is a plethora of treatment options available for addiction.
  • Recovery includes a plan for the future to ensure success, and reinforces a solid foundation. Recovery is a process that includes the entire familial and support system of the patient.
  • Instead of ostracising someone for addiction, one must show empathy and try to reason with their behaviour. Counselling youth, making them realise the pain caused to those around them is one way to go about it.
  • Rehabilitation of drug addicts and timely medical intervention are important ways of de-addiction of substance abuse.
  • Finally, recovery is a holistic process and involves the rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.

Conclusion

Addiction comes with a cost, be it financial or quality of life. Different addictions ultimately affect not just the individual but also the family and friends. A public health approach is needed to address the wide range of interacting factors that influence substance misuse and substance use disorders in different communities and coordinates efforts across diverse stakeholders to achieve reductions in both.


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