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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 January 2024

 

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: static syllabus

1. Explain the various aspects of religious beliefs of Indus Valley Civilisation. (150 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the religious features of Indus Valley Civilisation.

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 giving an overview of its Harappan civilisation.

Body:

First, write the about the religious features of Harappan Civilisation – Mother goddess, Pashupati, Sacrificial cults, Nature worship, Phallus worship etc. Explain them in brief.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The religious beliefs of the Indus Valley Civilization, which thrived around 3300 to 1300 BCE in the Indian subcontinent, remain enigmatic due to the lack of deciphered written records. Nonetheless, archaeological findings offer insights into some aspects of their religious practices.

Body

Various aspects of religious beliefs of Indus Valley Civilisation

  • Along with male and female deities, the Indus people most likely worshipped Mother Goddess.
  • They worshipped a father God who was likely a founder of the race and a prototype of Siva as the Lord of the Animals.
  • They were familiar with some type of yoga and meditation.
  • They believed in some form of tree of life, portrayed on seals as a Pipal or Acacia tree, protected by a guardian spirit against an evil power signified by a tiger.
  • The guardian spirit is shown in seals as a bull, a serpent, a goat, a legendary creature, or an animal.
  • They worshipped fertility symbols like round stones and perforated stones, which predated the worship of Siva and Parvathi in the form Sivalinga.
  • They might have believed in magical rites, charms, and amulets, as well as ghosts and demons.
  • They typically cremated the dead and left certain artefacts as offerings for their afterlives.
  • The great bath of Mohenjo-Daro, or the much larger one discovered recently at the Dholavira site in Kutch, was most likely a prototype temple ponds, or sacred tank, found in ancient temples of southern India, where people might have taken purification baths or collectively participated in some kind of ritual bath on important occasions.
  • The presence of baths and the presence of animals in the Indus seals imply that they may have utilised water and animals in sacrifice rituals as offerings or for expiation and ceremonial cleaning.
  • Archaeologists have discovered no structures resembling temples, palaces, or monuments.
  • In reality, most other modern civilisations have some sort of major monument.
  • Despite the presence of granaries and public baths, the lack of a palace or temple led historians to think that the Indus Valley culture was egalitarian.
  • They might have used their understanding of brick construction and geometric patterns to construct sacrifice altars.
  • However, no sacrifice altars or pits have been discovered in the excavations at the Indus Valley sites.

Conclusion

While the exact religious beliefs of the Indus Valley Civilization remain speculative, archaeological evidence suggests a complex system with a focus on ritualistic practices, deity worship, and symbolic artifacts. The lack of deciphered scripts and comprehensive religious structures poses a challenge, leaving much of their spiritual worldview open to interpretation.

 

Topic: static syllabus

2. The Indus Valley Civilization’s legacy lies in its contributions to early urban development, technological achievements, and cultural practices. Discuss. (150 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the features of Indus Valley Civilisation.

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 giving context.

Body:

First, write the about the features of Harappan Civilisation – Agriculture, Urban Planning and Infrastructure, Trade and Economy, Writing System and Artifacts, Social Organization and Governance and Religion and Rituals etc.

Mention as to how the above contributes of legacy of the civilisation.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A flourishing civilisation emerged on the banks of river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spread across larger parts of Western India. A marked feature if this civilisation was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the two major cities if this civilisation.

Body

Features of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Town planning Architecture
    • Layout: The town were laid out in a rectangular grid pattern and the roads ran in North-South and East-West direction cutting each other at right angles.
    • Construction: The big roads divided the city into many blocks and smaller lanes were used to connect housed to the main roads. Harappan used burnt bricks of standard dimension for construction.
    • Types of buildings: Dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths are commonly found.
    • Planning: The city was divided into two parts. An upraised citadel in the western part was used for buildings of large dimensions, such as granaries, administrative buildings and courtyard.
      • The elite class stayed in the citadel part of the town.
    • Granaries had strategic air ducts and raised platforms for storage and protection from pests. Eg: The great granary in Mohenjo-Daro and 2 rows of 6 granaries in Harappa.
  • Dockyard: Lothal in Gujarat is now called Manchester of Indus-Valley. Here ship remains and instruments for measuring angles were also found.
  • Public Baths: This is a remarkable feature of the civilisation which indicated the importance given to ritualistic cleansing in the culture. Eg: The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro
    • There are no cracks or leaks in the great bath which shows the engineering acumen of the Harappan people.
  • Drainage system: This is the most striking feature as small drains ran from small houses and were connected to larger drains running alongside the main roads. They were covered loosely to do periodic maintenance. Cesspits were placed at regular intervals.
  • Use of seals: Seals were primarily used for commercial purpose. They were mostly square and rectangle but circular and triangular were also used.
    • Some seals were used as amulets as well as they were found on dead bodies.
    • Pictographic script on seals have been found which might have been used for educational purposes.
    • Eg: Unicorn seal, Pashupathi seal made of Steatite.
  • Bronze casting: There was a wide scale practice of bronze casting. They were made using the lost wax technique or Cire Perdue. Eg: Bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro, broze bull of Kalibangan etc.
  • Pottery: There were plain and painted pottery (Red and Black pottery). They were mainly used for household purposes for storage, decorative purposes and some for straining liquor as they have perforations.
  • Jewellery and clothing: Both men and women wore ornaments like necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger rings. Girdles, anklets were worn only by women.
    • Beads made of amethyst, quartz, steatite etc were quite popular as was evident from excavation on Chanudaro and Lothal.
    • For fabric cotton and wool was used. Spindles and whorls were made from expensive faience as well as cheap clay.

Conclusion

The Indus valley civilization was the largest of all the four civilizations of the time and was contemporary to the Mesopotamian civilisation. The features of Indus-Valley such as the planned network of roads, houses and drainage systems indicate the planning and the engineering skills that developed during those times.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. The growing tensions between the United States and China have been characterized by some analysts as a new Cold War or Cold War 2.0. In this context, how should India navigate its foreign policy? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

In the coming year, we will see not greater multipolarity, but greater bipolarity.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the new cold war 2.0 and how should India navigate it.

Directive word: 

Comment– here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context of cold war 2.0.

Body:

In the first part, write about the major features cold war –  political, economic, military, and technological competition.

Next, write about the India’s approach towards cold war 2.0 – India could learn from its past mistakes by adopting a policy of non-alignment, engaging in diplomatic efforts, supporting multilateral institutions, diversifying its economic ties, strengthening defence capabilities, and promoting dialogue for conflict resolution.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

In recent years, the relationship between the United States and China has undergone a profound transformation, marked by a complex interplay of economic competition, technological rivalry, security concerns, and geopolitical tensions. Some analysts have gone so far as to characterize this evolving dynamic as a new Cold War or Cold War 2.0, drawing parallels with historical geopolitical rivalries. Against this backdrop, it becomes imperative for nations, including India, to carefully navigate their foreign policies to safeguard their interests, maintain regional stability, and contribute to global cooperation.

Body

Tensions between USA and China

  • Trade Disputes: The U.S.-China trade relationship has been a focal point of tension. Both countries engaged in a trade war, imposing tariffs on each other’s goods. While there have been attempts at reaching trade agreements, the underlying issues related to intellectual property theft, market access, and trade imbalances continue to pose challenges.
  • Technology Competition: The competition for technological dominance, particularly in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, has heightened tensions. The U.S. has expressed concerns about China’s technological advancements and the potential security risks associated with Chinese tech companies.
  • Human Rights Issues: Concerns over human rights violations, particularly in relation to the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and political developments in Hong Kong, have strained diplomatic relations. The U.S. and other Western nations have been critical of China’s actions in these areas.
  • Military and Strategic Concerns: The South China Sea has been a source of tension, with the U.S. expressing concerns about China’s assertiveness in the region. Military maneuvers, territorial claims, and disputes over navigation rights have contributed to a complex geopolitical landscape.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has also been a source of tension. Accusations and blame-shifting between the U.S. and China regarding the origin and early management of the virus have strained diplomatic relations.
  • Global Influence: Both countries are vying for global influence, engaging in strategic competition across various regions. This competition extends to areas such as infrastructure development, investment, and diplomatic influence.

India’s foreign policy in the context of new cold war

  • Strategic Autonomy: India has traditionally followed a policy of non-alignment and strategic autonomy. In the current scenario, India may continue to pursue a balanced approach, avoiding entanglements in formal alliances that could jeopardize its independent decision-making ability.
  • Economic Engagement: As both the United States and China are significant trade partners for India, maintaining economic ties with both nations is crucial. India should strive to enhance economic cooperation while mitigating potential risks associated with global economic tensions.
  • Diversification of Partnerships: India should actively diversify its diplomatic and economic partnerships. Strengthening ties with other nations and regional groupings can provide India with more options and reduce its dependence on any single country.
  • Regional Cooperation: Fostering stronger ties within its immediate neighborhood and the broader Indo-Pacific region can be beneficial for India. Engaging in regional forums and promoting stability in the region can enhance its strategic standing.
  • International Institutions: Active participation in international institutions like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization allows India to contribute to global governance and advocate for its interests while maintaining a principled stand on issues.
  • Military Preparedness: Given the geopolitical uncertainties, India should continue to invest in its defense capabilities to safeguard its interests and maintain a credible deterrent. This includes both conventional and asymmetric capabilities.
  • Conflict Resolution through Diplomacy: In times of heightened tensions, India should actively pursue diplomatic solutions to conflicts. Engaging in dialogue and diplomatic initiatives can help prevent escalation and foster stability in the region.
  • Technological Independence: Enhancing indigenous technological capabilities is essential for India’s long-term strategic interests. This includes investments in research and development to reduce dependency on external sources for critical technologies.

Conclusion

India’s foreign policy should be dynamic, flexible, and responsive to evolving global dynamics. It should seek to protect its national interests, promote economic growth, and contribute to global peace and stability while avoiding unnecessary entanglements in power rivalries. Balancing relationships with major powers and diversifying alliances will be key to navigating the uncertainties of the current geopolitical landscape.

 

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

4. Discuss India’s recent strides in the realms of science and technology, highlighting notable achievements that underscore the country’s growing prowess in these fields. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

While the Moon landing was quite clearly the crowning glory for Indian science in 2023, the year also marked a definite shift in gears for India’s space programme.

Demand of the question:

To write about achievements of India in science and technology.

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 giving by context.

Body:

First, briefly discuss achievements of India in science and technology – Chandrayaan-III, forays in the Arctic and the Antarctic and new partnerships in space, the National Research Foundation, the National Quantum Mission, and LIGO-India etc.

Next, write about upcoming missions of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

In recent years, India has emerged as a formidable force in the arenas of science and technology, making significant strides that underscore its growing prowess on both national and global fronts. From landmark achievements in space exploration to breakthroughs in healthcare and cutting-edge innovations in various sectors, India’s commitment to scientific research and technological advancement has garnered international attention.

Body

India’s achievement in science and technology in recent times

  • Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan): Launched in 2013, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission marked a historic achievement, making India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first country in the world to do so in its maiden attempt. This success highlighted India’s space capabilities and its cost-effectiveness in space exploration.
  • Chandrayaan Missions: India’s lunar exploration missions, Chandrayaan-1 (2008) and Chandrayaan-2 (2019), have contributed significantly to lunar science. Chandrayaan-2 included an orbiter, lander, and rover, showcasing India’s capability in undertaking complex interplanetary missions.
    • In the Chandrayaan-3 India successfully launched a rover with much lesser cost than NASA and was a successful event.
  • ISRO’s PSLV-C37 Mission: In 2017, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) set a world record by launching 104 satellites into space with a single rocket (PSLV-C37). This achievement highlighted India’s prowess in commercial space launches and its cost-effective satellite deployment capabilities.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Drive: India has played a crucial role in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The country developed and deployed two indigenous COVID-19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, demonstrating its biotechnological capabilities. India’s massive vaccination campaign has been instrumental in addressing the global demand for vaccines.
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation: India has been focusing on advanced manufacturing and innovation across various sectors. Initiatives such as “Make in India” and “Start-Up India” have aimed to foster entrepreneurship and technological innovation, contributing to the development of cutting-edge technologies and solutions.
  • Supercomputing Achievements: India has made strides in high-performance computing. The PARAM series of supercomputers, developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), and Pratyush, India’s fastest supercomputer for weather and climate research, are examples of the country’s advancements in computational capabilities.
  • National Education Policy (NEP) 2020: India’s revamped National Education Policy emphasizes research and innovation, aiming to transform the education system to foster a culture of scientific inquiry and technological innovation. The focus on multidisciplinary education is expected to nurture a new generation of scientists and innovators.
  • Defense Technological Capabilities: India has been investing in strengthening its defense technological capabilities. The development of indigenous defense systems, including the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) and the successful test of anti-satellite weapon (Mission Shakti), showcases the country’s strides in defense research and technology.

 

Conclusion

From pioneering space exploration missions to the development of indigenous vaccines during a global health crisis, India has demonstrated its capability to address complex challenges. As the country embraces a multidisciplinary approach to education and continues to invest in research and development, the trajectory of its scientific endeavors points toward a future where India will not only meet the evolving needs of its citizens but also contribute significantly to global advancements. The strides made in supercomputing, defense technologies, and various other domains underscore India’s commitment to carving a niche in the global landscape of innovation.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. Explain the concept of genome sequencing and highlight the significance of the Genome India Project. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

In the last two decades, the landscape of genomics and the utility of genetic information in healthcare have both undergone a revolutionary transformation, marked by the increasing affordability and accessibility of personal genomes.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about genome sequencing and its application.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with a defining genome sequencing.

Body:

Firstly, in brief, explain the process of genome sequencing. Write about the advantages offered by the genome sequencing. Cite the recent Nobel prize for Medicine was based on genome sequencing.

Next, write about the aims and objectives and Genome India Project as well as steps taken so far in this regard. Write about its advantages in healthcare and research in India, and its contribution to global efforts to combat genetic diseases.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Genome Sequencing refers to the method through which the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome, the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA are figured. The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters

Body

About Genome sequencing

  • A Genome is the complete genetic material of an organism. It is like an instruction manual which contains information about the make-up of the organism.
  • While human genomes are made of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), a virus genome can be made of either DNA or RNA (Ribonucleic acid).
  • DNA and RNA provide genetic instructions for growth and functioning of organisms.
  • Coronavirus is made of RNA. Genome sequencing is a technique that reads and interprets genetic information found within DNA or RNA.

Genome India Project

  • Taking inspiration from the Human Genome Project, this year, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) initiated the ambitious “Genome India Project” (GIP) on 3rd January 2020.
  • The Genome India Project, a Centre-backed initiative to sequence 10,000 Indian human genomes and create a database, is about two-thirds completed and will be 100% complete by year-end.
  • Of the 7,000 genomes sequenced about 3,000 are already available for public access (as per the Department of Biotechnology)
  • This project is led by the Centre for Brain Research at Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science, which acts as the central coordinator between a collaboration of 20 leading institutions, each collecting samples and conducting its own research.
  • Institutes involved include the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru as well as several Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
  • For conducting the project, investigators in hospitals will lead the data collection through a simple blood test from participants and the information will be added to biobanks.

Significance of Genome India Project

  • India’s population of4 billion is made up of over 4,600 diverse population groups, many of which are endogamous or marry within close ethnic groups.
  • These groups haveunique genetic variations and disease-causing mutations that cannot be compared to other populations.
  • By creating a database of Indian genomes, researchers can learn about these unique genetic variants and use the information to create personalized drugs and therapies.
  • The project aims to develop personalized medicine based on patients’ genomes to anticipate and modulate diseases.
  • By mapping disease propensities to genetic variations, interventions can be targeted more effectively, and diseases can be anticipated before they develop.
  • For example, variations across genomes may explain why cardiovascular disease leads to heart attacks in South Asians but to strokes in most parts of Africa.
  • Similar benefits will come to agriculture if there is a better understanding of the genetic basis of the susceptibility of plants to pests, insects and other issues hampering productivity.
  • This can reduce dependence on chemicals.
  • Global science will also benefit from a mapping project in one of the world’s most diverse gene pools.
  • The project is said to be among the most significant of its kind in the world because of its scale and the diversity it would bring to genetic studies.

Conclusion

Finally, genes account for less than 25 percent of the DNA in the genome, and so knowing the entire genome sequence will help scientists study the parts of the genome outside the genes. This includes the regulatory regions that control how genes are turned on and off, as well as long stretches of “nonsense” or “junk” DNA—so called because significance of it hasn’t been established.

Value addition

Importance of genome sequencing

  • Genome sequencing helps researchers understand the arrangement of the make up of DNA or RNA. Sequencing the genome will help us understand where the certain virus for instance of SARS-CoV-2 came from and how it spread
  • Participants of genome-sample collections represent diversity of the country’s population. It will help in following ways:
  • The first obvious use would be in personalised medicine, anticipating diseases and modulating treatment according to the genome of patients. Several diseases develop through the interplay of the environment with multiple genes, which differ across populations.
  • Human genome sequencing is important to establish a link between diseases and the unique genetic make-up of each individual. For instance, cardiovascular disease generally leads to heart attacks in South Asians. If such propensities can be mapped to variations across genomes, it is believed public health interventions can be targeted better.
  • While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.
  • Another advantage of genome sequencing is that information regarding drug efficacy or adverse effects of drug usecan be obtained. Drugs developed in the Western world and sold in India are pricey and may not be effective on the Indian gene. Mapping of India’s genetic landscape is critical for next generation medicine.
  • It will enhance India’s scientific capabilities. Next step would be genome sequencing of crops that would help in better understanding of the genetic basis of susceptibility of crops to blights, rusts and pests. It may become possible to deter them genetically, and reduce dependence on chemicals.
  • Global science would also benefit from genome sequencing, which would provide data useful for the mapping of the spread and migration of a range of life forms in the old World and thus would help in better understanding of human evolution.

 

Topic: Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

6. Efforts to eliminate insurgency in northeastern India require a comprehensive approach addressing deep-rooted historical, social, economic, and political causes. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The signing of a tripartite agreement, in New Delhi, between the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom, the Union government and the Assam State government marks the end of a process that began in 2009.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about causes for insurgency in N.E India and its sustenance despite various measures.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of the insurgencies in North east India.

Body:

First, draw a small map of the north-east showing major insurgent conflicts in the region.

Next, mention the causes of the insurgency under various heads such as economic, political, social, cultural/ethnic reasons.  Write briefly about its impact highlighting the issues associated with AFSPA, Naxalism and International borders.

Next, write about the various measures taken to tackle insurgency and their limitations. Write about the factors for sustenance of insurgency.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

There are over a hundred of ethnic groups in the Northeast each having a strong sense of identity and their uniqueness. They want to retain this uniqueness in their political and social and orientations as well. Insurgency is essentially a violent rebellion against the political organisation when the ethnic communities feel that their interests have been neglected and they are not properly represented.

The large prevalence of insurgency has negatively impacted the prevalence of Peace in the Northeast. This not only affects the socio-economic development of the region but has a negative effect on the country as well.

Body

Causes of insurgency in north-east

  • Nationality: Involving concept of a distinct ‘homeland’ as a separate nation and pursuit of the realisation of that goal by its votaries.
  • Ethnic reasons: Involving assertion of numerically smaller and less dominant tribal groups against the political and cultural hold of the dominant tribal group. In Assam, this also takes the form of tension between local and migrant communities.
  • Sub-regional reasons: Involving movements which ask for recognition of sub-regional aspirations and often come in direct conflict with the State Governments or even the autonomous Councils.
  • Developmental issues: Poverty, unemployment, lack of connectivity, inadequate health care and educational facilities, feelings of neglect and non-participation in governing their own affairs have contributed to the insurgency in the region.
  • Governance deficit:Informal economy and governance and shortage of resources.
  • Porous international borderswith difficult topography
  • Sense of alienation from mainstreamdue to overwhelming presence of security forces and associated issues of Human Rights.

Reasons that sustain insurgency in north-east

  • Sense of Isolation, Deprivation and Exploitation: Distance from New Delhi and meagre representation in the Lok Sabha has further reduced the vox populi being heard in the corridors of powers, leading to more disillusionment in the dialogue process, thereby making call of the gun more attractive.
  • Demographic Changes: The influx of refugees from former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) into Assam led to a dramatic change in the demographic landscape of the region.
  • Lack of Economic Development: GoI’s economic policies have also fuelled resentment and insecurity amongst the people. Due to various factors, the development of NEI has lagged behind thereby resulting in lack of employment opportunities. Thus, the youth are easily lured by various insurgent groups in order to earn easy money.
  • Internal Displacement: Internal displacement is also an ongoing problem. From the 1990s to the start of 2011, over 800,000 people were forced to flee their homes in episodes of inter-ethnic violencein western Assam, along the border between Assam and Meghalaya, and in Tripura.
  • External Support: There is ‘increasing evidence’ of China’s revival of its ‘covert offensive’ in the region.Pakistan’s Special Services Group (SSG) also trained the Naga guerrillas in the 1960s through their bases in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

 Conclusion and way forward

  • Multi-stakeholder approach:A wider representation not just of civil society, scholars and others, but also of professionals is required at any forum addressing the concerns in the North-East.
  • Understanding emotionaland psychological aspects of the problems of the different states of the North-East: Any meaningful policy for the North-East should address the specifics of each state and region.
  • Economic development: Opening up of economy of this region may be expedited making way for new investments, acquiring of productive assets, reaching potential in tourism etc.
  • Tackling illegal immigrationfrom neighbouring countries: Identity cards and work permits for those who come for work should be made mandatory.
  • Stress on Dialogueas an ongoing process to reach concrete solutions by involving all the stakeholders and not a single group.

 Value addition

Government measures

  • Constitutional protection in Sixth Schedulewhich protected not only the tribal laws, customs and land rights; but also gave sufficient autonomy to the tribes to administer themselves with minimum outside interference.
  • Protected Area Permit:Due to security reasons, certain areas have been declared as Protected Area/Restricted Areas where no foreigner can enter or stay without obtaining permit from the competent authorities .
  • Act east policy to enhance economic cooperation with South East Asian countries will benefit North East.
  • Infrastructural development
    • Kaladan Multimodal project to provide connectivity of North East with rest of India through Mizoram.
    • Trilateral highway (moreh (manipur) -mandalay – thailand) will facilitate north east trade with South east Asia.
    • North-East Road Sector Development Scheme (NERSDS) is a region-based road development programme in India.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: ethics – in private and public relationships;

7. Overcoming conflicts of interest in public service is essential for maintaining trust, transparency, and the effective functioning of government institutions. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

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 way to overcome conflict of interest.

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:

Write about how there is a conflict of interest between private and public relationships during day-to-day administrative work.

Body:

Bring out the various facets of integrity, impartiality and nonpartisan ship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections that an administrator must consider before taking any actions in case of conflict.

Mention certain principles, theories and benchmarks one can take the right decision especially when faced with a conflict or dilemma.

Conclusion:

Complete by summarizing the need for doing the right thing especially for those who are in power.

Introduction

“conflict  of  interest”  involves  a  conflict  between  the  public  duty  and  private  interests  of  a  public  official,  in  which  the  public  official  has  private-capacity  interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.

Body

In such a situation, judgement of an individual could be impaired. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations. Conflict of interest is seen  as a moral issue and not strictly a legal one accompanied by criminal culpability in India so it is hardly surprising that blatant violations are virtually seen every day.

Example: a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position. Instances of the largest shareholder appointing himself as CEO, deciding his salary and then appointing his son to a key post and higher royalties to the parent company are some of the serious conflict of interest issues in India which don’t  receive necessary attention.

A judge giving judgement in a case involving his own family member is a case of conflict of interest.

Public servants faces Conflict of Interest due to the nature of their work-

  • Personal vs Professional
    • This is the most common type of conflict of interest arising due to the conflict between personal and professional life.
    • Say, if a public servant is in charge of giving out contracts for a certain project and one of the applicant is relative or friend.
  • Conflicting Responsibility
    • Sometimes public servants are given additional charge, which might sometimes create a conflict of interest with the original line of duty.
  • Conflicting Organisations
    • Sometimes public servants are part of two separate organisations with apparently conflicting objectives and this might put them in certain conflict of interest.
    • Many public servants also volunteer for NGOs during their service. NGOs and governmental organisation sometimes come at odds with each other.

Getting into a situation of conflict of interest is sometimes unavoidable and not a crime in itself if properly handled:

  • Transparency
    • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way.
    • It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.
  • Assure integrity
    • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.
  • Maintain objectivity
    • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.
  • Reduce discretion and codify procedure
    • There is a need for legislation to make non-disclosure of a conflict of interest punishable.
    • A private member’s bill (The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill, introduced in 2012), the legislation ought to cover all arms of governance, including the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
    • The recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Department of Personnel and Training, calling for early retirement if interested in post-retirement private service is established, needs to be implemented, besides increasing the mandatory cooling period to five years so that no undue influence can be exerted by the retired bureaucrat.
    • Also, the reasons for declining their requests for joining such firms need to be laid out clearly, to limit political concerns.
    • An open, public data platform enlisting all post-retirement appointments of civil servants will increase transparency

Conclusion

The priority must be to frame a modern law relating to conflict of interest, along the lines of what exists in the statute of the other countries like the United States and also ensure them to their work ensures ethical governance.


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