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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1.  Nurtured for centuries, classical dances in India have evolved in different parts of the country, in their own distinct style taking on the culture of that particular region, each acquiring its own flavour. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various features and evolution of various classical dances in India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Explain that dance has always been considered ad a complete art and has had a close association with god and worship. The earliest examples of dance in India can be traced back to the dancing pictures in Bhimbetka caves and the bronze statue of a dancing girl in Mohenjodaro.

Body:

First, enumerate the list of 8 classical dances on India and the major region they are practised.

Next, mention the evolution of classical dances over the years and how each classical dance show cultural aspects of that regions and are distinct from one another. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The earliest examples of dance in India can be traced back to the dancing pictures in Bhimbetka caves and the bronze statue of a dancing girl in Mohenjodaro. Most of the classical dance forms originated in temples. Worshipping was the main aim. Although every dance form evolved from different regions, their roots are the same. The roots can be traced from the Sanskrit text – ‘Natya Shastra’. The first compilation of Natya Shastra is dated between 200BCE and 200CE.

As time passed, artists improvised many classical dances which resulted in the present day forms.

Body

Classical dances of India: Evolution

  • The Natya Shastra is the foundational treatise for classical dances of India, and this text is attributed to the ancient scholar Bharata Muni.
    • Its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
  • The most studied version of the Natya Shastra text consists of about 6000 verses structured into 36 chapters. The text, states Natalia Lidova, describes the theory of Tāṇḍava dance (Shiva), the theory of rasa, of bhāva, expression, gestures, acting techniques, basic steps, standing postures – all of which are part of Indian classical dances.
  • Dance and performance arts, states this ancient text, are a form of expression of spiritual ideas, virtues and the essence of scriptures.
  • While the Natya Shastra is the revered ancient text in the Hindu tradition, there are numerous other ancient and medieval Sanskrit dance-drama related texts that further discuss and expand on the classical repertoire of performance arts, such as the Abhinaya Darpana, Abhinava Bharati, Natya Darpana, Bhava Prakasa and many others. The term “classical”( “Shastriya”) denotes the ancient Indian Shastra-based performing arts.

The Sangeet Natak academy recognizes below dances as classical dances.

  • Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu: Bharatnatyam dance is known to be ekaharya, where one dancer takes on many roles in a single performance.
    • The dance involves transitional movements of leg, hip and arm. Expressive eye movements and hand gestures are used to convey emotions.
  • Kathak, from Uttar Pradesh: The word Kathak has been derived from the word Katha which means a story.
    • It was primarily a temple or village performance wherein the dancers narrated stories from ancient scriptures.
    • Kathak began evolving into a distinct mode of dance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries with the spread of the bhakti movement.
    • The legends of Radha-Krishna were enacted in folk plays called rasa lila, which combined folk dance with the basic gestures of the kathak story-tellers.
  • Kathakali, from Kerala: Chakiarkoothu, Koodiyattam, Krishnattam and Ramanattam are few of the ritual performing arts of Kerala which have had a direct influence on Kathakali in its form and technique.
    • Kathakali is a blend of dance, music and acting and dramatizes stories, which are mostly adapted from the Indian epics.
    • Heavy make-up and stunning costumes (elaborate masks, huge skirts and big head-dresses) are used.
  • Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh: Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh which has a very long tradition of dance-drama. It was known under the generic name of Yakshagaana.
    • In 17th century Kuchipudi style of Yakshagaana was conceived by Siddhendra Yogi. He was steeped in the literary Yakshagaana tradition being guided by his guru Teerthanaaraayana Yogi who composed the Krishna-Leelatarangini, a kaavya in Sanskrit.
  • Odissi, from Odisha: The major subjects of performance are lores of incarnations of Lord Vishnu and verses of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda.
    • A soft dance backed by soothing lyrics and is similar to Bharatanatyam in terms of the mudras and expressions.
  • Sattriya, from Assam: The Sattriya dance form was introduced in the 15th century A.D by the Vaishnava saint and reformer of Assam, Sankaradeva as a medium for propagation of the Vaishnava faith.
    • The dance form evolved and expanded as a distinctive style of dance later on.
    • Because of its religious character and association with the Sattras (Vaishnava maths or monasteries), this dance style has been named Sattriya.
  • Manipuri, from Manipur: The dance in Manipur is associated with rituals and traditional festivals, there are legendary references to the dances of Shiva and Parvati and other gods and goddesses who created the universe.
  • Mohiniyattam, from Kerala: Mohiniyattam or dance of Mohini (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is the classical solo dance form of Kerala.
    • References of Mohiniyattam can be found in the texts Vyavaharamala written in 1709 by Mazhamagalam Narayanan Namputiri and in Ghoshayatra, written later by poet Kunjan Nambiar.
    • It was structured into the present-day classical format by the Travancore Kings, Maharaja Kartika Tirunal and his successor Maharaja Swati Tirunal (18th-19th century)

Conclusion

The style of Indian classical dancing is very vibrant and motivational. It is a style of dance that is like a communication with the gods. Indian classical dancing usually happens at festivals and cultural events. The dancers who perform this kind of dance usually is a professional dancer that has had a lot of practice in that specific style of Indian classical dancing. In Indian classical dancing the professional dancers usually dance to beat of the song or sound that is playing.

 Value addition

Government reviving classical dance

  • The government of India puts continuous efforts in preserving, promoting the Indian classical dances in India and abroad as well.
  • The establishment of Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi and its allied centers and constituent bodies boosted the development of these classical dances.
  • The grand Classical dance festivals like Khajuraho, Konark, Dhauli Kalinga, Kalidas, Mukteshwar, Soorya, Ellora, Nishagandhi etc., displays the beautiful representation of Indian Classical Dances.
  • The classical dances flourished and developed further with the establishment of Music and Dance Universities like Indira Kala Sangeet VishwavidyalayaKhairagarh, Raja Mansingh Tomar University, Gwalior etc. and the various Institutions like Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, Prayag Sangeet Samiti. They not only added to the development of it but also helped the classical dance forms to reach till common people.

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. The present Indian music has grown and evolved from ancient times and was more or less uniform before the 13th century. Later it bifurcated into the two musical systems – Hindustani and Carnatic. Compare and contrast both systems. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the evolution of music and compare Hindustani and Carnatic music.

Directive word: 

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give a brief introduction about Indian music. One can state facts, historical genesis of Indian music.

Body:

First, Hindustani and Carnatic music are the two main sub-genres of Indian classical music. While Hindustani music originated in the Vedic period, Carnatic music originated during the Bhakti Movement. Give the detailed differences between the two.

Next, Highlight similarities between Hindustani classical and Carnatic music.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Music has always been an important part of Indian life. The range of musical phenomenon in India extends from simple melodies to what is one of the most well- developed “systems” of classical music in the world. There are references to various string and wind instruments, as well as several kinds of drums and cymbals, in the Vedas. Some date the advent of the system of classical Indian music to Amir Khusro. Muslim rulers and noblemen freely extended their patronage to music. In the courts of the Mughal emperors, music is said to have flourished, and the Tansen was one of the jewels of Akbar’s court.

The great poet-saints who chose to communicate in the vernacular tongues brought forth a great upheaval in north India and the Bhakti or devotional movements they led gained many adherents. The lyrics of Surdas, Tulsidas, and most particularly Kabir and Mirabai continue to be immensely popular. By the sixteenth century, the division between North Indian (Hindustani) and South Indian (Carnatic) music was also being more sharply delineated.

 

Body

Evolution of Indian music from ancient times

  • It is generally believed that Indian classical music has its origins in the religious observances of the Aryan people who arrived in India some 3,000 years ago
  • The Aryans brought with them their sacred texts known as the Vedas, meaning ‘knowledge’ forming the core of ancient Hindu scriptures with their worship rituals largely centring on the highly structured and organised recitation of these verses.
  • Thus, the roots of Indian classical music can be traced back to its origin in the recital of Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples
  • There are four main Vedas, of which the one known as Samaveda (from saman, roughly translating to ‘melody’) is the most relevant – as the texts contained in it were clearly meant to be sung whilst also acting as treatises about music, dance and theatre.
  • The seven swaras of music – Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni represent different scriptural deities: SA – Agni, RE – Brahma, GA – Saraswati, MA – Shiva, PA – Vishnu, DHA – Ganesha, NI – Surya
  • Ancient musical treatises show that by 300 BC, there was already a marked difference in classification for what was known as marga Sangeet (music of the gods) and Desi Sangeet (music of the people).
  • The latter formed the basis for what evolved as folk music, varying region by region, but the former remained the sole domain of those who were considered adequately trained by a master
  • The earliest treatise on music, drama and dance is Bharata’s Natyashastra

Hindustani music: Features

  • The six primary ragas in Hindustani classic are- Bhairava, Kausika, Hindola, dipak, sriraga and Megh
  • Ragas in Hindustani classic music used to strictly observe the time theory. Ex: Bhairavi at dawn, Megh in the morning
  • Ragas in Hindustani music are also associated with feelings and moods. Ex: Bhairavi with awe and fear, Kausika with joy
  • It has a highly formalized grammar, dictated by textual as well as oral tradition.
  • Hindustani music places more emphasis on improvisation and exploring all aspects of a raga
  • Slow and sometimes even leisurely introductory section (alap) followed by solfege and fast section with fast melodic phrases and rhythmic play
  • There is significant emphasis on space between the notes
  • Hindustani classical music has been influenced considerably by Persian traditions
  • Musical instruments used in Hindustani are Tabla, Sarangi, Sitar, Santoor, Flute and violin.
  • Main styles in Hindustani music– Dhrupad, Khayal, Tappa, Chaturanga, Tarana, Sargam, Thumri and Ragasagar, Hori and Dhamar.

 

Carnatic music: Features

  • It is an indigenously developed style of classical music
  • The Melakarta scheme is a highly comprehensive and systematic formula which includes within its fold all the modes used in ancient as well as modern systems of music of the different parts of the world.
  • It is strongly Kriti-based
  • Unity of raga, tala and shruti in every piece
  • The system gives equal importance to melody and rhythm.
  • Mixing the three degrees of speeds
  • Fewer instruments are used in Karnataka than in northern Indian music, and there are no exclusively instrumental forms.
  • There is an even balance between re-creativity (soulful interpretation of the compositions of great masters) and creativity (on the spot improvisations).
  • Some of the important Carnatic music compositions are- Gitam, suladi, svarajati, Jatisvaram, varnam, kritanam, kriti, pada, javali, pallavi etc

 

Comparison between Hindustani and Carnatic music

  • Hindustani originated in North India. It was influenced by foreign traditions. Carnatic originated in South India. No such foreign influence.
  • In Carnatic there is Unity of raga, tala and Sruti in every piece. No strict adherence to these factors in Hindustani.
  • Raga development is phrase by phrase in Carnatic music while it is note by note in Hindustani.
  • There are many gharanas in Hindustani and no such prevalence in Carnatic.
  • In Carnatic there is equal importance to vocal and instruments while in Hindustani importance is to the vocal.

Conclusion

Care must be taken to ensure sufficient funding is provided to classical artists to pursue their art

Awareness training at the school-level could help in encouraging the students to take up classical music training. Creating sufficient livelihood opportunities for traditional artists in the country

Institutions such as ‘Sangeet Natak academy’ has to be equipped with sufficient resources to research and come up with solutions to ensure all aspects of the rich tradition of music continues to survive and thrive in the society.

 

Topic: geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

3. Educating the public about the importance of water conservation and sustainable water use is fundamental to build resilience against water stress and promote sustainable water use. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

Water scarcity is gradually becoming one of the most important issues in Northeast India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the measures needed to overcome water stress in the country.

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 defining and giving the status of water stress in India. Cite a statistic of show the level of water stress in the country,

Body:

First, write about the impact of water stress on the quantitative as well as qualitative aspect of fresh water and how it will impact us.

Next, write about the urgent steps that are needed to make sustainable water practises – planning regulation of groundwater usage, rejuvenation of catchment areas, sustainable agriculture, aquifer recharge, rainwater harvesting and technology to monitor progress, community participation and rejuvenating existing water bodies etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Body

Water stress in India

  • India has 4 % of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17 % of the world’s population.
  • Approximately 600 million people or roughly around 45 % of the population in India is facing high to severe water stress.
  • As per the report, 21 Indian cities will run out of their main source of water i.e. groundwater by 2020.
  • Nearly 40 % of the population will have absolutely no access to drinking water by 2030 and 6 % of India’s GDP will be lost by 2050 due to the water crisis.
  • As per NITI Aayog report (CWMI) released in June 2019, India is facing the worst-ever water crisis in history.
  • A disastrous water crisis has been creeping up on us for years. Water tables have declined precipitously, even by thousands of feet in some parts of Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. Tanks and wells have gone dry.
  • Some rivers have shrunk while other smaller ones have completely dried up.
  • Water rationing is routine in many urban areas, while in many villages women are trudging longer distances to fetch water.
  • A recent report mentions that over 70% of surface irrigation water is being simply wasted, nationally.
  • Not only farmers are affected by the water crisis, urban dwellers in cities and towns across India are also facing a never seen before drinking water scarcity.
  • In India, there are conflicts between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing of Cauvery waters, between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over sharing of Narmada waters, between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over sharing of Krishna waters, etc.

 

 

Measures to educate and create awareness regarding water conservation

  • Resource Awareness:
    • Public education helps raise awareness about the finite nature of water resources. Understanding the importance of water as a limited and essential resource encourages individuals to use water more responsibly.
  • Behavioral Change:
    • Education plays a key role in driving behavioral change. By informing the public about the impacts of water wastage and the benefits of sustainable water use, individuals are more likely to adopt water-efficient practices in their daily lives.
  • Community Engagement:
    • Educating the public fosters community engagement. When communities understand the shared nature of water resources and the collective impact of conservation efforts, they are more likely to collaborate in implementing water-saving initiatives.
  • Policy Support:
    • Informed and engaged citizens are more likely to support and advocate for water-conservation policies at local, regional, and national levels. Public pressure can influence policymakers to implement regulations and incentives that promote sustainable water use.
  • Technological Adoption:
    • Public education can drive the adoption of water-saving technologies and practices. This includes promoting the use of water-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting systems, and drought-resistant landscaping.
  • Economic Benefits:
    • Understanding the economic implications of water scarcity can motivate individuals and businesses to adopt water-saving measures. Conserving water not only helps reduce water bills but also contributes to the overall economic resilience of a region.
  • Climate Change Resilience:
    • Education about water conservation often involves discussions about climate change. Public awareness of the interconnections between water availability, climate change, and ecosystem health can lead to a more comprehensive and integrated approach to water management.
  • Cultural Shift:
    • Through education, there can be a cultural shift towards valuing water as a precious resource. This shift is essential for promoting a long-term commitment to sustainable water use across generations.
  • Education Programs:
    • Educational programs, whether conducted in schools, communities, or through public awareness campaigns, can provide practical tips and guidelines for water conservation. This empowers individuals to make informed decisions in their daily lives.
  • Long-Term Impact:
    • The long-term success of water conservation efforts relies on sustained public awareness and education. Continuous education ensures that individuals remain vigilant about water use and adapt their behavior in response to changing conditions.

 

Conclusion

Public education about water conservation and sustainable water use is a foundational strategy for building resilience against water stress. It not only empowers individuals to make informed choices but also contributes to a broader societal shift towards valuing and preserving water resources for current and future generations.

 

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4. India and the Maldives must prioritize collaboration, understanding, and diplomacy to build a stronger and more resilient relationship. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The rapid decline in ties between India and the Maldives, just a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, should set alarm bells ringing.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Indo-Maldives relations, their strengths and weaknesses.

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 the giving context.

Body:

Frist, discuss the history of the relationship between the two countries and their evolution. Write about major dimensions of the ties.

Next, write about the major issues that have affected the relationship between the both countries.

Next, write about the steps that are required to overcome the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The rapid decline in ties between India and the Maldives, just a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with the newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, should set alarm bells ringing. The trigger came from tweets by three Maldivian Ministers, attacking Mr. Modi for promoting the Lakshadweep islands during his recent sojourn there at a perceived cost to the Maldives and for his close ties with Israel; the Ministers also made derogatory remarks about Indians.

 

Body

Issues between India and Maldives

  • The Ongoing Lakshadweep Issue:
    • The controversy ensued when three deputy ministers from the Maldives made derogatory comments about India and the Prime Minister following his recent visit to Lakshadweep.
    • They criticized the Indian Prime Minister’s visit, alleging that it was intended to pose a challenge to Maldivian tourism, which is well-known for its renowned beachside amenities.
    • The Indian government raised the issue with Maldives, after which the Maldives government suspended the ministers.
    • This controversy has led many Indians to cancel their holiday bookings in Maldives. The incident underscores the dangers of hyper nationalism in the region.
    • Maldives tourism industry would be “concerned” about the potential impact of this controversy.
  • The India Out Campaign In Maldives:
    • The ‘India Out’ initiative seeks to amplify animosity by instilling scepticism regarding India’s investments in the Maldives, the defence partnerships between the two nations, and India’s security provisions in the region.
    • The recently elected Maldivian government opposes the former administration’s ‘India First’ policy to the extent that the withdrawal of Indian troops was included in Muizzu’s election manifesto.
  • Sovereignty and Security Dilemma :
    • The democratic system in the Maldives is still in its early stages, grappling with regional socio-political instability influenced by major global players.
    • The opposition in Maldives strongly feels that the Indian military presence in the Maldives is a threat to the country’s national security and sovereignty.
    • Conversely, the government has consistently emphasized that the India Out campaign poses a threat to the national security of the country. It is seen as a factor that could antagonize the partner country providing regional security benefits to the island nation.
      • The Trilateral Maritime Security Cooperation meeting between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka was established in 2011.
    • Revocation of Hydrographic Survey Agreement:
      • It is worth noting that hydrographic data inherently has a dual nature in that the information collected from the seas can be used for civilian and military purposes.
      • Maldives has apprehensions about India’s hydrographic activity being a form of intelligence collection.
      • Maldives’ recent decision to revoke the agreement with India for joint hydrographic surveys in its waters, causing concern in Indian strategic circles.
    • The China Factor in the Indian Ocean Region :
      • The Maldives has emerged as an important ‘pearl’ in China’s “String of Pearls” construct in South Asia.
      • Maldives has massive Chinese investment and became a participant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
      • The India-Maldives relationship suffered a setback when Maldives entered into a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2017.
      • There are speculation about a Chinese plan to develop a naval base in the Maldives, with past proposals indicating concerns about potential military applications.
      • China’s oceanographic surveys in the waters of amicable South Asian nations pose potential conflict points due to the presence of Indian hydrographic ships in the region.

 

Measures needed to build collaboration

  • Discover and Develop Tourism Destinations in India:
    • Discover the Undisclosed Sites: India’s coastline is adorned with a mix of well-known and undiscovered beach destinations. It is opportune to explore and cultivate the potential of undisclosed and hidden treasures along India’s coast.
      • Possible destinations may include places like Goa, Kerala, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
    • Develop Tourism Facilities: Invest in basic infrastructure such as transportation, roads, and utilities. Develop reliable connectivity to the undisclosed areas to make them easily accessible for tourists.
      • The coverage and operations of routes that fall under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (RCS-UDAN) should be enhanced.
    • Step into the Footsteps of the Gujral Doctrine:
      • High-level Diplomatic Engagement: Prioritise regular and constructive diplomatic dialogues to address concerns, build trust, and foster open communication.
      • Strengthening Regional Alliances: Building on the positive aspects of the Gujral Doctrine, India should continue strengthening regional alliances and cooperation for mutual benefit.
      • Political Engagement with Local People: At present, the ‘India Out’ campaign has support from a limited population but this cannot be taken for granted by the Indian government.
        • The strength of bilateral relations hinges on the ability of a partner government to garner public support for its policies.
      • Unwavering Support for Capacity Building Programmes: As a development partner, India should provide unwavering support to the Maldives in realizing their aspirations for broad-based socio-economic development and strengthening of democratic and independent institutions in the region.
    • Apply Prudence in International Affairs:
      • Avoid Needless Provocations: The controversy warns smaller nations like Maldives to exercise prudence in dealing with neighbours, as unnecessary provocations can have detrimental consequences.
        • Needless provocations can trigger consequences that could, in the end, hurt the smaller neighbour a lot more.
      • Responsive Role of Social Media Warriors:
        • It is crucial to acknowledge the significant role played by social media warriors in promoting national interest but engaging in bullying behaviour towards neighbouring countries, particularly Maldives, is counterproductive.
          • Such actions have the potential to lose India’s diplomatic advantages in favour of China.
        • Craft a Comprehensive Indian Ocean Strategy to Counter China:
          • Maximise Maritime Security: India should participate in efforts to ensure the safety and freedom of navigation in critical sea lanes, contributing to the overall security architecture in the Indian Ocean.
          • Maximize Resources: India should keep its commitment to regional security by actively participating in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. India can actively engage through QUAD to counter Chinese aggression in the region.
            • Project Mausam should provide sufficient space for Maldives to get benefits out of it and boost its economic and infrastructural reliance on India.

 

Conclusion

Irrespective of the controversy, the enduring regional and geopolitical importance of India ensures that fostering relations with New Delhi remains a paramount priority for the Maldives.

A coordinated synergy between India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the Maldives’ ‘India First’ approach is essential for strengthening a mutually beneficial partnership.

 

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

5. Outline the characteristics of the Agnipath scheme for enlisting soldiers and analyse the different advantages and drawbacks linked with its implementation. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India

Why the question:

Ever since the announcement of the Agnipath scheme in 2022, as per which soldiers are to be hired for a fixed four-year term, recruitment from Nepal has been on a halt.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Agnipath scheme, its benefits and risks.

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 the writing about aims and objectives of Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers

Body:

Frist, discuss the key features of the scheme – recruitment, salary, duration and post tenure etc.

Next, write about the major benefits from the scheme.

Next, write about various concerns associated with the scheme in the short term and long term.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to address these shortcomings.

Introduction

Agnipath Defence Policy Reform is a government scheme launched to recruit young men and women in the Indian Armed forces. The Agnipath scheme was announced by the defence Minister Rajnath Singh on June 14th 2022.

Ever since the announcement of the Agnipath scheme in 2022, as per which soldiers are to be hired for a fixed four-year term, recruitment from Nepal has been on a halt.

Body

About the Agnipath scheme

  • Agnipath is a new defence recruitment model that would allow “patriotic and motivated”youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years.
  • The process of recruitment will commence in 90 days.
  • The plan is to recruit about45,000-50,000 personnel below officer rank in the three services every year through a biannual exercise with a six-month gap.
  • As per the Agnipath scheme, this year there will be aplanned intake of about 46,000 young men and women.
  • Soldier recruited through Agnipath scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
  • This scheme will be the only form of recruitment of soldiers into the three defence services Armed Force, Indian Navy and Air Forces, hereon.
  • Enrolment of Agniveers to all three services will be througha centralized online system, with special rallies and campus interviews at recognised technical institutes such as the Industrial Training Institutes, and the National Skills Qualifications Framework. The Model is based on an all-India merit-based selection process.

Objectives

  • It aims at providing an opportunity to the patriotic and motivated youth with the ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ to join the Armed Forces.
  • It is expected to bring down the average age profile of the Indian Armed Forces by about 4 to 5 years.
  • The scheme envisions that, the average age in the forces is 32 years today, which will go down to 26 in six to seven years.

Various benefits to Youth

  • Upon the completion of the 4-years of service, a one-time‘Seva Nidhi’ package of Rs 11.71 lakhs will be paid to the Agniveers that will include their accrued interest thereon.
  • They will also get a Rs 48 lakh life insurance cover for the four years.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore,including pay for the unserved tenure.
  • The government will help rehabilitate soldiers who leave the services after four years.They will be provided with skill certificates and bridge courses.
  • Furure Ready Soldiers:It will create “future-ready” soldiers.
  • More Employment Opportunities: It will increase employment opportunities and because of the skills and experience acquired during the four-year service such soldiers will get employment in various fields.
  • Higher Skilled Workforce: This will also lead to availability of a higher-skilled workforce to the economy which will be helpful in productivity gain and overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.

Issues related to the scheme

  • Difficult to Find Another Job:The ‘Agnipath’ scheme opens the way for recruitment of about 45,000 soldiers into Army, Navy and Air Force in the first year but on a short-term contract of four years. After the completion of the contract, 25% of them will be retained and the rest will leave the forces.
    • The four years of service will mean other jobs will be out of reach after that, and they will be left behind their peers.
  • No Pension Benefit: Those hired under the ‘Agnipath’ scheme will be given a one-time lumpsumof a little more than Rs 11 lakh when they end their four-year tenure.
    • However, they do not receive any pension benefits.For most, seeking a second job is essential to support themselves and their families.
  • Training May Remain Unutilized: Forces will lose experienced soldiers.
    • The jawans joining the Army, Navy and Air Force will be given technical training so that they are able to support the ongoing operations. But these men and women will leave after four years, which could create a void.

Conclusion

Despite the reservations, there is potential for future employment to these youth as the defence industry is ready to take off in a huge manner in India. Once this happens, the industry will have readily skilled youth for the jobs and hence there is also future to these youths. At the same time, national security is ensured.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

6. In the era of competition and commercialisation, it is a herculean task to sustain as a leader who stays true to their ethics. Analyse. (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 understand the various roles and responsibilities of a leader and the importance of ethics in their work domain

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 defining what is leadership along with few traits of a good leader.

Body:

Highlight the need for an ethical leader in the present context of rising scams and blind race against mere monetary gains of businesses. Give few examples highlighting cases of leadership with and without ethics and its impact on the organisation as well as the society.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above points highlighting the need for ethical leadership

Introduction

From a collective perspective, leaders can inspire those around them to behave ethically. By setting an example and giving the direction for ethical behaviour, others will observe and act similarly. In this way, ethical leaders can positively influence many others, presenting them with a set of actions that they can adopt for the greater good.

Body

Traits of ethical leadership

  • Honesty: Honesty makes ethical leaders worthy of the trust others place in them. It means leaders commit to presenting facts as they are, playing fair with competitors, and communicating honestly with others.
  • Justice: To be fair means to treat everyone equally, offer opportunities with no favouritism, and condemn improper behaviours and manipulations, as well as any other actions that could harm someone.
  • Respect: Ethical leaders respect others around them, regardless of their position or identifying characteristics. This means they listen to each stakeholder, foster inclusion, and value diversity.
  • Integrity: Integrity is shown when values, words, and actions are aligned and consistent. It is not enough to talk the talk; one has to walk the walk to demonstrate integrity.
  • Responsibility: Responsibility means accepting to be in charge, embracing the power and duties that come with it, and always responding and being present in challenging situations.
  • Transparency: Transparency concerns mainly the communication with all stakeholders. It means keeping an open dialogue, accepting feedback, and disclosing the information others need to deliver their work.

Importance for ethical leadership for leaders

Gandhiji showed the world by attaining freedom for India that only truth and non-violence can help achieve even the most impossible targets. He led by example and demonstrated the power of the principles he followed during non-cooperation movement, the Dandi March and Quit India movement.

Nelson Mandela, another leader sacrificed his life for the sake of South Africa and was jailed for 27 years. He never lost his focus on the vision of Independence and gave everything he had to ensure the same.

Abraham Lincoln’s existence on this planet was a true gift for humanity.  His fight for equality and the will to bring people together for the greater good was as astounding today as unimaginable then.

However, there are multiple challenges for ethical leadership in today’s world like the rise of ‘jingoistic nationalism’, Increasing encroachment of the private sphere by a ‘surveillance state’ through the abuse of digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence systems, The global retreat of democracies, relegation of the ethical imperative to an obsessive pursuit of raw power as an end in itself, a crisis of institutional legitimacy, and the challenge of forging a political consensus needed for hard but necessary decisions interrogate the proclaimed assumptions of democratic resilience.

Traits necessary for a leader in today’s era

  • In a reshaped world, formal authority is less potent. Only moral authority can build trust, inspire colleagues, create meaning and help people imagine a better future.
  • Leadership in today’s world should consist of an approach which is open and transparent.
  • Leaderships goals and visions should be communicated fast and effectively.
  • Everyone then has time to think about how they fit into the changes which are going to be made.
  • Leaders today must also listen to and hear everyone’s input and solutions, including our youth.

Conclusion

Ethical leadership is of great importance. A good leader is followed, but a moral leader is respected and trusted. In ethical leadership, leaders are supposed to lead their peers by their own ethical activities. Behaving in an honest, ethical, and unselfish manner is pivotal in setting examples for others.

 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

7. The influence of money in elections raises serious ethical concerns about fairness, representation, and the integrity of the democratic process. Elucidate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

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

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving context.

Body:

Write about the influence of money on elections and its impact – give candidates an unfair advantage, undermine representation, and erode the legitimacy of the political system. Also, mention the long-term impact of the same.

Conclusion:

Complete by mentioning steps that are needed to overcome the above.

Introduction

With several Assembly elections coming up, one issue may need more attention than others. Elections are fought with huge funds nowadays. Estimates vary, but a candidate may spend in crores in just one constituency. This vital issue is neglected by voters in the noise and din of campaigns, leaders, celebrities and media coverage.

Money is central to the issue of political corruption in India and political parties are suspected to be the largest and most direct beneficiaries. Corruption in elections reduces accountability, distorts representation, and introduces asymmetry in policymaking and governance. This necessitates transparency in electoral funding.

Body

Background

  • Voters vote for political parties so that they deliver benefits to the citizens. If election funds are obtained from other sources, the Governments in power are obliged to the funders more than the voters.
  • For instance, the Government Budget reports that in 2019-20 the loss to the Government on account of incentives to companies and reduction in duties and taxes was ₹2. 24 lakh crore. The voters do not know this.
  • Transparency in funding is absent after the introduction of Electoral Bonds. In spite of the CIC ruling, all political parties have refused to submit themselves to the transparency that comes with Right to Information. Limits on funding are also not well defined.

Issues with electoral funding

  • Opacity in donations: Political parties receive majority of their funds through anonymous donations (approximately 70%) through cash. Also, parties are exempted from income tax, which provides a channel for black money hoarders.
    • Eg: Electoral funds is fraught with challenges and is in the courtsTransparency in funding is absent after the introduction of Electoral BondsNow citizens cannot know who is funding the political parties.
  • Lack of action against bribes: The EC sought insertion of a new section, 58B, to RPA, 1951 to enable it to take action if parties bribe voters of a constituency, which has not come to light.
  • Allowing foreign funding: Amendment of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) has opened the floodgates of foreign funding to political parties, which can lead to eventual interference in governance.
  • Unlimited corporate donations: The maximum limit of 7.5% on the proportion of the profits a company can donate to a political party has been lifted, thus opening up the possibility of shell companies being set up specifically to fund parties.
  • Lack of transparency: Despite provisions under section 29 of RPA, 1951, parties do not submit their annual audit reports to the Election Commission.
  • RTI: Parties have also defied that they come under the ambit of RTI act. In spite of the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling, all political parties have refused to submit themselves to the transparency that comes with Right to Information.

Measures to bring more transparency in electoral funding

  • Switching to complete digital transactions.
  • Donations above a certain limit be made public to break the corporate-politico nexus.
  • Political parties should be brought under the ambit of RTI as followed in countries like Bhutan and Germany.
  • Establish a national electoral fund where donors contribute and funds are distributed among different parties according to their respective performances in the last elections. This will also weed out black money as well as ensure anonymity to donors.
  • State funding of elections has been suggested in the past in response to the high cost of elections. Law Commission of India, 2nd ARC, National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, have favoured state funding.
  • Cap maximum expenditure of political parties to a multiple of half of maximum prescribed limit for individual candidates with the number of candidates fielded.

Conclusion

Donors to political campaigns can demand for favourable laws and policies, favourable government contracts, and exceptionalism in law enforcement as returns on their investments. It also inevitably leads to criminalisation of politics as money and muscle power, go hand in hand. Hence, reforms in electoral funding is a major need of the hour for India.


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