Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 November 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.  In evaluating Napoleon’s downfall, it is essential to consider both external military factors and internal challenges.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express.

Why the question:

Napoleon sought to conquer Egypt to undermine British power. He failed. But the scholars he brought with him, have left an enduring legacy.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the factors that led to the downfall of Napoleon.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part, write about the reasons for the downfall of Napoleon as the emperor of France – Overextension of Napoleon’s empire, formation of the Sixth Coalition, Continental system, Mistakes by Napoleon and Invasion of Russia by Napoleon.

Next, give context about Invasion of Russia by Napoleon and its outcome. Mention how it began the downfall of Napoleon and to what extent it was responsible for his decline.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion.

Introduction

Despite Napoleon Bonaparte’s early successes in restoring order to France at the beginning of the 1800s, the ten years after he became Emperor would be mired by failures, eventually leading to his downfall.

Body

Internal challenges

At Tilsit (1807), Napoleon was at the height of his power. But from 1808 to 1814 his power was continuously on the decline. His fall was as rapid as his rise.

  • Continental blockade: One of this first moves in attempting to conquer or gain an advantage over much of Europe came with the Continental System. This decree, enacted by Napoleon, was meant to weaken England. In it, he encouraged any countries who were either neutral (meaning they didn’t take sides) or who were allies with France to stop doing business with England. It was his hope that England would suffer economically. The Continental System, however, failed, due in part to the fact that England had natural resources to sustain itself. The country that was weakened, ironically, was France.
  • Peninsular war: From 1808 to 1814, France was engaged in the Peninsular War against Spain and Portugal, who were aided in the conflict by Great Britain. Napoleon had set his sights on conquering the Iberian Peninsula and actually succeeded in doing so when he conquered Spain in 1808. He installed his older brother, Joseph as the King of Spain. His short rule lasted from 1808 to 1813.
    • This upset the Spaniards, who had once been allies with France. The Peninsular War turned out to be quite costly, and although the French won against Spain, this was a turning point in Napoleon’s reign: it was a moment in which his previous allies realized how land-greedy he was becoming.
  • Russian invasion: On June 24, 1812, the Grande Armée, led by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, crossed the Neman River, invading Russia from present-day Poland. The result was a disaster for the French.

External military factors

  • In 1812, the French under Napoleon embarked on an invasion of Russia. He had hoped to gain political advantage with both Russia and Poland as a result of this invasion, and to defeat Russian troops.
  • It was, however, a total disaster.
  • Not only was it freezing cold, but the Russians were certainly not open to any engagements with the French.
  • They retreated, but not before enacted a “scorched earth” policy, one in which they burned all of the crops as they moved further away from the French.
  • This left Napoleon’s troops with little to eat. All totalled, the French army would lose hundreds of thousands of men during the six-month invasion.
  • By June of 1815, Napoleon’s list of enemy countries had grown to include Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia due to his actions.
  • The four countries all braced themselves for what they assumed would be a war with Napoleon’s forces, and when he got wind of this, he thought he might catch them by surprise and try to defeat them.
  • He subsequently invaded Belgium, the spark which ignited the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon and his forces were defeated at this battle, which would mark the final defeat of his reign.

 

Conclusion

The invasion lasted six months, and the Grande Armée lost more than 300,000 men. Russia lost more than 200,000. A single battle (the Battle of Borodino) resulted in more than 70,000 casualties in one day. The invasion of Russia effectively halted Napoleon’s march across Europe, and resulted in his first exile, to the Mediterranean island of Elba.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Is it time to revisit the criteria for special category status (SCS) and include others into this exclusive category by excluding those who do not need such assistance any longer? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

On November 22, the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Cabinet passed a resolution seeking the grant of special category status (SCS) to Bihar.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about performance of SCS and need to revisit the criteria of SCS.

Directive word: 

Critically analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the aims and objectives behind the grant of SCS.

Body:

First, mention the various criteria on which SCS is granted to states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages. Mention the various benefits associated with it.

Next, analyse the performance of states granted SCS over the years. With facts and examples write as to what extent they befitted from the grant of SCS. Mention the drawbacks of grant of SCS.

Next, write about the changes needed in the SCS categorisation and steps required for the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion about SCS.

Introduction

Special Category Status (SCS) a classification given by the Centre to assist development of states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages. This classification was done on the recommendations of the Fifth Finance Commission in 1969. It was based on the Gadgil formula.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet passed a resolution seeking Special Category Status (SCS) for Bihar, following findings from the “Bihar Caste-based Survey, 2022,” indicating significant poverty.

Body

Background: Objectives of SCS and reasons for implementation

  • The concept of a special category status was first introduced in 1969 when the fifth Finance Commission sought to provide certain disadvantaged states with preferential treatment in the form of central assistance and tax breaks, establishing special development boards, reservation in local government jobs, educational institutions, etc.
  • This formula was named after the then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Gadgil Mukherjee and is related to the transfer of assistance to the states by centre under various schemes.
  • Initially, three states; Assam, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir were granted special status but from 1974-1979, five more states were added under the special category. These include Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • In 1990, with the addition of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, the states increased to 10. The state of Uttarakhand was given special category status in 2001.
  • But after the dissolution of the planning commission and the formation of NITI Aayog, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission were implemented which meant the discontinuation of the Gadgil formula-based grants.

Various criteria on which SCS is granted

  • The rationale for special status is that certain states, because of inherent features, have a low resource base and cannot mobilize resources for development.
  • The state which is facing the problem of resources crunch must get the benefit.
  • Main key criteria are:
    • Low per capita income
    • Non-viable nature of state finances
    • Economic and infrastructural backwardness
    • Presence of sizeable tribal population
    • Hilly and difficult terrain
    • Strategic location along international borders
    • Low population density
  • Must be economically backward with poor infrastructure.

 

Performance of states granted SCS over the years

  • States which are granted special category status enjoy several benefits.
  • These include :
    • Preferential treatment in getting central funds
    • Concession on excise duty to attract industries to the state
    • A significant 30% of the centre’s gross budget also goes special category states
    • These states can avail the benefit of debt-swapping and debt relief schemes
  • In the case of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and external aid, Special Category States get it in the ratio of 90% as grant, and 10% as loans.
  • Other states, however, get 30% of their funds as grants f) Special Category States also get tax breaks to attract investment
  • A Special Category Status catalyses the inflow of private investments and generates employment and additional revenue for the state.
    • Besides, the State can create more welfare-based schemes from the new savings since the Center bears 90% of the expenditure on all Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
    • Further, more grants from the Center helps in building state infrastructure and social-sector projects.
  • The Constitution of India does not include any provision for the categorization of any state as a Special Category Status state.
    • However, in the past, Central Planned Assistance were given to certain states on the ground that they are historically disadvantaged in comparison to others.

Issues with SCS status

  • 14th Finance Commission recommendation: The Commission did away with the ‘special category’ status for states, except for the North-eastern and three hill states.
  • NDA government which came to power at the Centre in 2014 has been saying that the 14th Finance Commission doesn’t provide for such treatment to Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Constitution never mentioned it: The commission appears to have been guided by the fact that the Constitution never categorized some states as special, treating all of them on an equal footing.
  • No power to allocate funds: the NITI Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission, has no powers to allocate funds. Therefore, the discretion that the ruling party at the Centre had to dole out special favors to states through the Plan panel, no longer exists.

Measures needed

  • The Constitution of India does not include any provision for the categorization of any state in India as a ‘special category state.
  • However, a wide range of provisions are available to as many as 10 states that have been listed under Articles 371, 371-A to 371-H, and 371-J.
  • Some of these states are Maharashtra and Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Telangana.
  • Moreover, if states are in need of additional support, Centre may give a special package on case-to-case basis.

Conclusion

The intention behind these provisions is to safeguard the interest and aspirations of certain backward regions or to protect cultural and economic interests of the tribal people or to deal with the disturbed law and order in some parts. However, such categorisation leads to States playing victim card for ulterior motives as well. Hence, special packages to states based on merit can be a good way forward. An independent committee with statutory backing and executive powers with representation from states and centre may make a recommendation in this regard.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

3. The money market is a fundamental component of the Indian financial system, providing a platform for short-term financing and the implementation of monetary policy. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

The money market in India has witnessed unusual scenes in the last few months. There has been pressure on liquidity ever since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced an incremental cash reserve ratio (ICRR).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of money markets.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining money markets.

Body:

Write about the importance of money market for India’s economy – Development of Trade and Industry, Development Of Capital Market, Smooth Functioning of Commercial Banks, Formulation Of Suitable Monetary Policy etc. Cite statistics to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The money market refers to trading in very short-term debt investments. At the wholesale level, it involves large-volume trades between institutions and traders. At the retail level, it includes money market mutual funds bought by individual investors and money market accounts opened by bank customers.

Body

Background

  • An individual may invest in the money market by purchasing a money market mutual fund, buying a Treasury bill, or opening a money market account at a bank.
  • Money market investments are characterized by safety and liquidity, with money market fund shares targeted at $1.
  • Money market accounts offer higher interest rates than a normal savings account, but there are higher account minimums and limits on withdrawals.

Importance of money market to Indian economy

  • Development of Trade and Industry: It is an important source of financing trade and industry, as it provides for short-term funds adequately and quickly
    • The money market, through discounting operations and commercial papers, finances the short-term working capital requirements of trade and industry and facilities the development of industry and trade both — national and international
  • Development Of Capital Market: The short-term rates of interest and the conditions that prevail in the money market influence the long-term interest, as well as the resource mobilization in capital market
  • Smooth Functioning of Commercial Banks: The money market provides the commercial banks with facilities for temporarily employing their surplus funds in easily realizable assets. The banks can get back the funds quickly, in times of need, by resorting to the money market.
    • It also enables commercial banks to meet their statutory requirements of cash reserve ratio (CRR) and Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) by utilizing the money market mechanism
  • Effective Central Bank Control: A developed money market helps the effective functioning of a central bank. It facilities effective implementation of the monetary policy of a central bank
  • Formulation Of Suitable Monetary Policy: Conditions prevailing in a money market serve as a true indicator of the monetary state of an economy.
    • Hence, it serves as a guide to the Government in formulating and revising the monetary policy, depending upon the monetary conditions prevailing in the market
  • Non-Inflationary Source of Finance To Government: A developed money market helps the Government to raise short-term funds through the treasury bills floated in the market.
    • In the absence of a developed money market, the Government would be forced to print and issue more money or borrow from the central bank; Both of which would lead to an increase in prices and the consequent inflationary trend in the economy

 

Conclusion

There are several pros and cons of money market investments. Most money market securities are considered extremely low-risk, due to the protection of FDIC insurance, backing by a government or bank, or the high creditworthiness of the borrowers. They are also very liquid, meaning that they can readily be exchanged for cash at short notice.

The tradeoff of having low risk is that these investments also have low returns. Not only do money markets underperform other asset classes, they often don’t even keep pace with inflation. In addition, any fees associated with an account can easily eat into those slim returns.

 

Topic: Government Budgeting.

4. The effectiveness of fiscal management measures outlined in the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBMA), depends on their implementation, adaptability to changing circumstances. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

Perceptions have grown in the Eurozone and India that transfers from richer states are funding profligacy in poorer ones. Measures need to be taken to assuage growing resentment.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the performance of FRBMA and changes needed to 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 writing about the aims and objectives of FRBMA

Body:

First, write about the performance of FRBMA since its inception especially during phases of low economic growth and volatility in global economy. Mention the pros and cons of its performance. Also, mention the various changes made to the act.

Next, write about the changes needed to the act to make it more effective in implementing fiscal discipline.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted in 2003. It was introduced to institutionalize financial discipline, reduce India’s fiscal deficit, and improve macroeconomic management and the overall management of the public funds by moving towards a balanced budget.

The objective of the Act is to ensure inter-generational equity in fiscal management, long-run macroeconomic stability, better coordination between fiscal and monetary policy, and transparency in the fiscal operations of the Government.

Body

Key features of the FRBM Act

The FRBM Act made it mandatory for the government to place the following along with the Union Budget documents in Parliament annually:

  • Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement
  • Macroeconomic Framework Statement
  • Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement

The FRBM Act proposed that revenue deficit, fiscal deficit, tax revenue and the total outstanding liabilities be projected as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in the medium-term fiscal policy statement.

Evaluation of FRBM Act:

Performance of FRBM Act

  • The implementation of FRBM Act/FRLs improved the fiscal performance of both centre and states.
  • The States have achieved the targets much ahead the prescribed timeline.
  • Government of India was on the path of achieving this objective right in time. However, due to the global financial crisis, this was suspended and the fiscal consolidation as mandated in the FRBM Act was put on hold in 2007-08.
  • FRBM act has been violated more than adhered to since its enactment. The target fiscal deficit to GDP ratio of 3% for the Union government was achieved only once, in 2007-08, when it was 2.5%. That achievement has yet to be emulated again.
  • The FRBM Act was amended twice, in 2012 and 2015. The revisions in 2015 shifted the date for achieving the 3% target to 2017-18. By this year, the amended revenue deficit target was put at 2% of GDP.
  • Budget 2018-19 has proposed amending the FRBM Act again, which will shift the target of 3% fiscal deficit-GDP ratio to end-March 2021. No target has been set for revenue deficit.

 

Shortcomings of the Act

  • Reduction of expenditure in critical sector: While there is a drastic fall in deficits, it has largely been on account of reductions in expenditure in critical sectors of the economy such as education, health etc.
    • The Union government’s development expenditure as a proportion of GDP has declined over time.
  • Reduced development expenditure: An analysis of revenue account of the development expenditure by states shows that in almost all sectors of development, there has been a decline in the FRBM era.
  • Manipulation: Also, at times it has been seen that the government has achieved the deficit targets by manipulating the revenue and expenditure accounts such as curtailing the capital expendituredemanding interim dividend from Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in advance etc.
  • No force majeure clauses: Further, the FRBM Act ignores the possible inverse link between fiscal deficit (fiscal expansion) and bank credit (monetary expansion). That is, if credit growth falls, fiscal deficit may need to rise and if credit rises, fiscal deficit ought to fall — to ensure adequate money supply to the economy.
  • Investment starved: Data on money supply growth, bank credit and GDP establishes that both money supply growth and credit expansion have significantly reduced in relation to GDP growth. Thus, the FRBM Act has not only reduced the fiscal deficit but also starved the growing economy from much-needed investment.

Amendments in FRBM Act

  • The FRBM Act was amended twice, in 2012 and 2015. The revisions in 2015 shifted the date for achieving the 3% target to 2017-18. By this year, the amended revenue deficit target was put at 2% of GDP.
  • Budget 2018-19 has proposed amending the FRBM Act again, which will shift the target of 3% fiscal deficit-GDP ratio to end-March 2021.
  • In the year 2016, the NK Singh committee was set up by the government to review the FRBM Act. The task was to review the performance of the FRBM Act and suggest the necessary changes to the provisions of the act.
  • The recommendations of the committee read that the government must target a fiscal deficit of 3% of the GDP in years up to March 31, 2020 cut it to 2.8% in 2020-21 and to 2.5% by 2023.

Changes needed in the FRBM in post-pandemic phase

The government should start by defining a clear objective, based not on arbitrary targets but on sound first principles: It should aim to ensure debt sustainability. To this end, the government could adopt a strategy based on four principles.

  • Remove multiple fiscal criteria: The current FRBM sets targets for the overall deficit, the revenue deficit and debt. Such multiple criteria impede the objective of ensuring sustainability since the targets can conflict with each other, This creates confusion about which one to follow and thereby obfuscating accountability.
  • Target must not be fixed: Around the world, countries are realising that deficit targets of 3 per cent of GDP and debt targets of 60 per cent of GDP lack proper economic grounding. In India’s case, they take no account of the country’s own fiscal arithmetic or its strong political will to repay its debt. Any specific target, no matter how well-grounded, encouraging governments to transfer spending off-budget such as with the “oil bonds” in the mid-2000s and subsidies more recently.
  • Focus on one measure for guiding fiscal policy: In this regard, Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felmanwe propose targeting the primary balance. This concept is new to India and will take time for the public to absorb and accept. But it is inherently simple and has the eminent virtue that it is closely linked to meeting the overall objective of ensuring debt sustainability.
  • Have a long-term plan:The Centre should not set out yearly targets for the primary balance. Instead, it should announce a plan to improve the primary balance gradually, by say half a percentage point of GDP per year on average. Doing so will make it clear that it will accelerate consolidation when times are good, moderate it when times are less buoyant, and end it when a small surplus has been achieved. This strategy is simple and easy to communicate; it is gradual and hence feasible.

Conclusion

Economic disruption caused by the COVID has prompted calls for a relook at the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM). The introduction of the FRBM in 2003 reflected the belief that setting strict limits on fiscal deficits, both for the centre and the states, was the solution. But this framework didn’t work. It is time to learn from past experience and adapt.

The recommendations of the N.K Singh committee on flexible targets with escape clause, creation of fiscal council, focus on reduction of combined debt-to-GDP ratio of the centre and states to 60 % by 2023 etc. may be incorporated. Adopting a simple new fiscal framework based on the primary balance could be the way forward.

 

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

5. Addressing the issue of black money has been a persistent challenge with significant economic, social, and political implications. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the menace of black money, its impact and measures needed to end it.

Directive word: 

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of black money in India.

Body:

First, write about the challenges faced in tackling the issue of black money.

Next, write about the various measures undertaken to tackle black money in India – Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs), etc. Also, write about the limitations in ending black money menace.

Next, write about the impact of black money on various facets.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to end black money menace in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Black money includes all funds earned through illegal activity and otherwise legal income that is not recorded for tax purposes. Black money proceeds are usually received in cash from underground economic activity and, as such, are not taxed. Recipients of black money must hide it, spend it only in the underground economy, or attempt to give it the appearance of legitimacy through money laundering.

Body

Impacts of Black Money

  • Loss of Revenue:
    • Black money eats up a part of the taxand, thus, the government’s deficit increases.
    • The government has to balance this deficit by increasing taxes,decreasing subsidies and increasing borrowings.
    • Borrowing leads to a further increase in the government’s debtdue to interest burden. If the government is unable to balance the deficit, it has to decrease spending, which affects development.
  • Money Circulation:
    • People generallytend to keep black money in the form of gold, immovable property and other secret manners.
    • Such money does not become part of the main economyand, therefore, remains generally out of circulation.
    • The black money keeps circulating among the wealthyand creates more opportunities for them.
  • Higher Inflation:
    • The infusion of unaccounted black money in the economy leads to higher inflation, which obviously hits the poor the most.
    • It also increases the disparity between the rich and the poor.
  • Others
    • Due to parallel economy, neither government nor industries get actual picture of investment sentiments. This creates market distortions.
    • Black money means loss of tax revenue to the government. This reduces government’s capacity to spend more on social infrastructure.
    • Corruption in government projects and procurements creates low quality infrastructure.
    • As the RBI and government have no control over black money. This makes difficult for RBI to effectively target inflation and government also face problem while deciding fiscal policy.
    • Black money is further driving up the prices of real estate.
    • Black money generated from drugs and smuggling is being used to operate terror networks. This threatens national security.
    • Black money further increases the inequality and poverty.
    • There is a distortion in investment in economy. With black money the investment is made in high end and luxury goods.
    • Forward trading of goods by cash rich speculators cause fluctuation in prices due to hoarding.
    • Black money leads to further corruption by creating a vicious cycle.
    • Generating black money means that quality is compromised in public sector projects where black money is used to manipulate tenders and offer kickbacks.

Measures undertaken by Government to curb Black money

  • Legislative Framework:
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002
    • Benami Transactions Prohibition Act, 1988
    • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
    • The Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, 2015
    • Public Procurement Bill
    • Lokpal and Lokayukta Act
  • Tax Reforms:
    • Rationalization of income tax with greater tax base and lower taxes.
    • Tax deduction at source in which the tax is deducted from the payment itself by the payee.
  • Institutional measures:
    • CBDT
    • Enforcement Directorate
    • Financial Intelligence Unit
    • Central Board of Excise and Customs
    • Central Economic Intelligence Bureau
    • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
    • NIA
    • CBI
    • Police authorities
  • Voluntary Disclosure Schemes: The government allows reporting black money generated through tax evasion in a given time frame, as government has given in the Black Money Bill passed this year. During 2006-2012 government has reported nearly 26000 crore black money.
  • Demonetisation: In 1978 and 2016 government demonetised high value notes to tackle black money.
  • Encouraging Cashless transactions: Recently government has taken many initiatives like UPI, RuPay cards, Jan Dhan Accounts to promote digital payments. Government is also incentivising digital payments.
  • International Cooperation:
    • Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement
    • Automatic exchange of Tax information
    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of USA
    • Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters
    • Financial Action Task Force
    • United Nations Convention against Corruption
    • United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.
    • Egmont Group
    • Transfer Pricing Agreement of G20.

Way forward

  • Appropriate legislative framework relatedto Public Procurement, Prevention of Bribery of foreign officials, citizens grievance redressal, whistleblower protection, UID Aadhar is needed.
  • Setting up and strengthening institutions dealing with illicit money:Directorate of Criminal Investigation Cell for Exchange of Information, Income Tax Overseas Units- ITOUs at Mauritius and Singapore have been very useful, Strengthening the Foreign TAX, Tax Research and Investigation Division of the CBDT.
  • Electoral Reforms:Appropriate reforms are needed to reduce money power in elections, since elections are one of the biggest channels to utilize the black money.
  • Training Personnel:Both domestic and international training to personnel for effective action pertaining to the concerned area can also help.
    • For instance, theFinancial Intelligence Unit-India makes proactive efforts to regularly upgrade the skills of its employees by providing them opportunities for training on anti-money laundering, terrorist financing, and related economic issues.
  • Incentivising Bank Transactions:To curb the menace of black money, industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has suggested incentivisation of transactions through banking channels and a suitable framework for taxation of agricultural income.
    • Besides, it suggested reforms in the real estate sector and creation of IT infrastructure to track tax evasion.

 

Topic: basics of cyber security

6. India, like many other nations, faces a growing challenge in the realm of cybersecurity. Allocating resources and implementing advanced security measures are crucial to have a sound cybersecurity strategy. Analyse.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about India’s cyber security strategy and need for an overall strategy with more emphasis on severe threats and as well adequately addresses mild ones.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving statistic highlighting India’s vulnerability to cybercrimes.

Body:

First, write about the India’s evolving cyber security strategy and its various components.

Next, write about the various types of cyberthreats of varying degree of vulnerability and the disadvantages associated with classifying them as one.

Next, write about measures required to counter the above in policy making and developing a strategy for various types of cybercrimes.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Cyber security or information technology security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. It protects cyberspace from damage, sabotage and economic espionage.

According to Symantec Report, India is the 5th most vulnerable nation to cybersecurity breach.  India stands 47/175 in ITU’s  Global cybersecurity index .

Body

Significance of Cybersecurity

Economic Implications

  • Evolving nature of cybercrimes : Phishing (fradulent attempt at capturing personal information), Denial of Service attacks can lead to huge losses. Recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware show the evolving sophistication in cybercrimes.
  • Need to prevent economic losses : Cyber attacks nearly cost $4 billion USD per year for India. India accounted for 5.09% of all cyberattacks in 2017.
  • Digital governance : Increasing e-governance and delivery of services online make cybersecurity even more important. Eg: Aadhar based banking, Digilocker, DBT etc.
  • India’s IT Sector : India’s IT sector revenues accounted  for nearly $191billion dollars in FY20 as per NASSCOM data.

Social Implications

  • Identity Theft and execution of crime in the name of someone else.
  • User profiling by illegal data extraction online.
  • Breach of privacy through fraudulent data capturing.
  • Cyber stalking and bullying leading to harassment of individuals.
  • Security Implications
  • Cyber-warfare leading to states attacking the information systems of other countries for espionage and for disrupting their critical infrastructure.
  • Monitoring web to trace people in touch with terror operatives is needed for national security. Eg : Operation Chakravyuh by IB
  • Targeting nation’s nuclear installations. Eg: breach in Kundakulam nuclear power plant.

Challenges of Cybersecurity

  • Digital illiteracy in India makes citizens susceptible to cyber frauds. Eg Using legacy software with security vulnerabilities. Eg: ATM’s with windows XP became vulnerable to network spoofing.
  • Anonymity: Even advanced precision threats carried out by hackers is difficult to attribute to specific actors, state or non- state.
  • Slow adoption of new technologies. For example Banking sector most vulnerable to cloning of magnetic strip debit/credit cards.
  • Rampant use of unlicensed and pirated software that are easy targets for malware. Eg: Saposhi attack leading to Denial of Service.
  • Import dependence: Majority of electronic devices from cellphones to equipments used in power sector, defence and other critical infrastructure puts India into a vulnerable situation.
  • Lack of uniform security protocol and standards used across various electronic devices.

Measures initiated by the Government

  • International coordination or cyber diplomacy. For Eg India-US Cyber Relationship Framework.
  • The 5th GCCS (Global conference on cyberspace was held in India) bringing together policy makers, leaders, experts, cyber wizards etc.
  • India is considering signing of Budapest It is the only binding international instrument that addresses computer crime. It harmonizes national laws and investigative techniques.
  • National initiatives: CERT-IN is the national nodal agency to respond in crisis situation.
    • CERT-fin has also been launched exclusively for financial sector.
    • CERT-in is also operating Cyber Swachhta Kendra, a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre
  • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space.
  • A new Cyber and Information Security (CIS) Division has been created to tackle internet crimes such as cyber threats, child pornography and online stalking.
    • Under this, Indian cyber- crime coordination centre (I4C) and Cyber Warrior Police force has also been established.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative to strengthen Cybersecurity ecosystem in India. It is first public private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
  • National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) to scan internet traffic coming into the country and provide real time situational awareness and alert various security agencies.
  • Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata in collaboration with NASSCOM.
  • Laws/Policies determining cybersecurity
  • Information Technology Act, 2000 has  a legal framework for electronic transactions,  for data access for cybersecurity etc. The  important provisions are:
    • Section 43: Data protection
    • Section 66: Hacking
    • Section 69: Cyberterrorism
  • National Cyber Security Policy 2013:
    • Set up different bodies to tackle various levels of threats, along with a national nodal agency to coordinate all cybersecurity matters.
    • Create a workforce of around 500,000 trained in cyber security.
    • Provide fiscal benefits to businesses to adopt best security practices.
    • Set up testing labs to regularly check safety of equipment being used in the country.
    • Create a cyber ecosystem in the country, developing effective public-private partnerships and collaborative engagements through technical and operational cooperation.
    • Build indigenous security technologies through research.

Conclusion

New foundation for a global law on cybersecurity must be laid. It will help in guiding national legislation or policy against cybercrimes. Cyber-Deterrence must be ingrained in the policy on cybersecurity with both defensive and offensive approach.

Rapid capacity building and Skill development in cyber space is required considering the fact that India’s IT segment accounts for 51 percent share of the IT-BPM sector (2018-19).

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. what is Fortitude? Discuss is its importance with examples. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of fortitude.

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:

Start by defining fortitude.

Body:

Explain how Fortitude is firmness of spirit, especially in difficulty. It provides for constancy in the pursuit of virtue. Fortitude is a willingness to freely go beyond the call of duty, to make sacrifices, to act on your convictions. Fortitude includes the courage to confront our personal weaknesses and attraction to vice. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Fortitude is firmness of spirit, especially in difficulty. It provides for constancy in the pursuit of virtue. Fortitude is a willingness to freely go beyond the call of duty, to make sacrifices, to act on your convictions. Fortitude includes the courage to confront our personal weaknesses and attraction to vice.

Body

Any individual engaged in public service will face multiple challenges in the fulfilment of their goals.

Fortitude is a display of courage in a difficult situation. E.g.: A situation where a disaster like an earthquake has taken place requires immense fortitude. This attitude ensures peace and attracts positivity. It leads to courageous people coming out to face the truth.

Civil service involves decision-making in the public sphere. They have to deal with many matters that are anonymous and discrete. Due to this, fortitude is an eminent desirable quality in civil servants.

E.g.: Kiran Bedi, IPS officer sent a traffic challan to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the latter’s vehicle was parked wrongly.

A person with fortitude will not give up easily, and despite disappointing results or setbacks, will continually fight to improve the system.  adversities could be in form of “dilemmas”, “conflicts of interests”, “sound decision making”, “to face fake cases against an honest officer”, “time management”, “striking a balance between personal and professional life”, “to fight corruption”.

E.g: Ashok Khemka, an IAS officer undertook case against business mafia head-on despite the fear to his life and limb.

Conclusion

All the virtues exist as forms of balance, and so must be carefully distinguished from the various excesses which threaten to substitute for virtue. This is especially true in the case of fortitude, with can easily degenerate into extremes of brashness or cowardice.


Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE

Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE

Subscribe to our YouTube ChannelHERE

Follow our Twitter Account HERE

Follow our Instagram ID HERE

Follow us on LinkedIn : HERE