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UPSC Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 JUNE 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.

Topic: political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. The major political philosophies of the world, including liberalism, socialism, and communism, have shaped the world order through their ideologies and have had a wide range of impacts. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To critically analyse the major political philosophies of modern world history and their impact on world order.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding the major political philosophies of twentieth and twenty first century.

Body:

First, write about the achievements as well as shortcomings of major political philosophies – communism, capitalism, socialism, colonialism, liberalism etc.

Next, write about the various ways in which the above shaped the global world order in the present times – governance, economics, and international relations. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, several major political philosophies have shaped the world order. These include communism, capitalism, socialism, colonialism, and liberalism. Each of these ideologies has had significant achievements and shortcomings, influencing societies, economies, and governance worldwide.

Body

Achievements and shortcomings of major political philosophies

  • Communism:
    • Achievements:
      • Focused on equality, communal ownership, and classless societies.
      • Led to social reforms, labor rights, and welfare programs.
      • Inspired revolutions and independence movements.
    • Shortcomings:
      • Centralized control often led to authoritarian regimes.
      • Economic inefficiencies and lack of innovation.
      • Suppression of individual freedoms.
    • Capitalism:
      • Achievements:
        • Promoted economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
        • Created wealth and improved living standards.
        • Encouraged competition and technological advancements.
      • Shortcomings:
        • Income inequality and exploitation.
        • Environmental degradation.
        • Financial crises and market volatility.
      • Socialism:
        • Achievements:
          • Advocated for social justice, workers’ rights, and public services.
          • Established universal healthcare and education.
          • Reduced poverty and improved living conditions.
        • Shortcomings:
          • Bureaucracy and inefficiency.
          • Limited individual incentives.
          • Struggled with economic growth.
        • Colonialism:
          • Achievements:
            • Expanded trade networks and cultural exchange.
            • Introduced new technologies and infrastructure.
            • Spread languages and legal systems.
          • Shortcomings:
            • Exploitation, forced labor, and cultural erasure.
            • Disrupted indigenous societies and ecosystems.
            • Ignored local autonomy and self-determination.
          • Liberalism:
            • Achievements:
              • Championed individual rights, rule of law, and democracy.
              • Fought for civil liberties, free speech, and religious tolerance.
              • Influenced modern constitutions and human rights frameworks.
            • Shortcomings:
              • Unequal distribution of resources.
              • Market failures and social inequalities.
              • Challenges in balancing freedom and social responsibility.

Critical assessment of political philosophies of 20th and 21st century

  • Capitalism: From a political perspective, capitalism is a system of laissez-faire (freedom). Lawfully, it is a system of objective laws that is rule of law, in contrast, to the rule of man. In financial terms, when such freedom is applied to the domain of production its result is the free market.
    • In a capitalist system, the factories fuel the economy, and a wealthy few own the factories.
    • This created the need for a large number of people to work for the factory owners. In this environment, the wealthy few exploited the labourers, who had to labour to live.
  • Socialism: Socialism is a political and economic ideology that believes in the public ownership of means of production and distribution based on a plan formulated by a central authority.
    • Socialism depends altogether upon the history of mankind for a record of its growth in the past and bases its future upon knowledge of that history in so far as it can be accurately traced up to the present time.
    • Socialism was initiated in the late 18th-century by a knowledgeable and working-class political movement that disapproved of the effects of industrialization and private ownership on civilization.
  • Communism: In layman’s terms, communism is the political system in which the community owns and controls entities like factories, farms, services, etc. intending to treat everyone equally.
    • Communism is based on the goal of eliminating socioeconomic class struggles by creating a classless and stateless society in which everyone shares the benefits of labour and the community controls all property and wealth.
    • It is a form of government most closely associated with the ideas of Karl Marx, a German philosopher, which he outlined in The Communist Manifesto (1848).
    • Many philosophers have argued that Communism offers an idea of unattainable perfect future, and keeps its subjects in thrall to it by devaluing the past and the present.
    • It asserts to represent a universal truth which explains everything and can cure every ill and any apparent deviations or under-performance are explained away by casuistry and emotional appeals.

Shaping the world order

  • Today, the historical words capitalism, socialism, and communism do not fully capture the economic systems of nations.
  • New words are also used to describe economic systems- free market system; mixed economy; command economy.
  • In the Western world and other countries like India, the horizon was broadly some version of liberal, representative constitutional democracy.
  • In a large part of the world, from Pakistan to Egypt, there was a quest for some version of modern Islamic constitutionalism, reconciling the sovereignty of God with the requirements of the modern world.
  • In Africa, the political and moral aspiration of politics was shaped by trying to think of a political form that could be an effective bulwark against the creation of the colour line and imperialism in the organisation of the world system.
  • And China has, for the better part of its recent history, been shaped by the idea of the party-state as a distinctive political form.

Conclusion

In other words, communism, socialism, and capitalism are in sync with modern national economics falling somewhere in the middle, or mixed zone of the different types of economies. Therefore, a clear understanding of the historical developments, meaning, political associations, and synonyms of these three words is essential.

Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India; Social empowerment.

2. Caste inequality remains a critical determinant of social and economic disparities, requiring targeted policies and inclusive growth efforts to address systemic discrimination and historical injustices. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

A recent working paper of the World Inequality Lab has reignited discussion on the widening gap between the rich and poor. Inequality in India, however, transcends the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots, as caste-based inequalities are among the defining features of the country’s socioeconomic framework.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ill effects of caste discrimination, reasons for its prevalence and ways to overcome it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by giving background about the caste discrimination in modern India.

Body:

First, write about the reasons for the prevalence of caste discrimination in India and factors behind it.

Next, mention the impact of caste discrimination and how it is affecting contemporary society. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to overcome the above issues and empower weaker sections.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Caste system refers to a broad hierarchical institutional arrangement along which basic social factors like birth, marriage, food-sharing etc are arranged in a hierarchy of rank and status. These sub-divisions are traditionally linked to occupations and decide the social relations with respect to other upper and lower castes.

A recent working paper of the World Inequality Lab has reignited discussion on the widening gap between the rich and poor. Inequality in India, however, transcends the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots, as caste-based inequalities are among the defining features of the country’s socioeconomic framework..

Body

Caste discrimination is still widely prevalent in the contemporary society because

  • Indian society has been bearing the brunt of this social evil since the post-Vedic times and continues to bear despite Constitutional and Legal measures.
  • Hereditary: An individual’s caste is determined by the caste of the family he is born in. It is generally hereditary. One’s caste is unalterable no matter what his/her social position is. One inherits the membership of a caste by his/her birth.
  • Persistence is that ancient inequities and prejudices are slow to change. The higher castes, which exploited the lower castes for centuries, continue to discriminate against them both socially and economically.
  • Sense of caste prestige: Feeling of own caste superiority over other castes Is the main factor. It is people’s strong desire to enhance caste prestige. Members of a particular caste or sub-caste have the tendency of developing loyalty to their own caste.
  • Caste endogamy: Caste endogamy refers to marriage within the same caste. Caste endogamy is therefore responsible for the emergence of the feeling of casteism.
  • Belief in religious dogmas: Due to illiteracy, people are governed by belief in religious dogmas, blind beliefs and superstitions. Due to the practice of ‘Jati Dharma’ they take interest in their own caste. It leads to caste feeling and casteism.
  • Social distance: Especially in rural areas, people belonging to the higher caste maintain social distance from the lower castes.
    • Dalits in rural villages are forbidden in Hindu temples and disallowed with their shoes on in higher-caste neighborhoods.
    • They maintain it through different restrictions like inter-caste marriages, Inter-dinning etc.
    • The ideology of an individual is associated with his caste norms and values. This has given rise to casteism.
  • Caste reservation in higher education and the government has served to perpetuate a system that would otherwise have withered away.

How casteism can be removed?

  • Emotional and intellectual appeal to economic determinism, as was advocated by Karl Marx
  • Awareness about Constitutional values, ethics, ill effects of castiesm etc. by debates, nukkad natak, puppetry,
  • Promote and incentivise inter caste marriages as is already done for marrying a SC ST women in some parts of India.
  • Evaluate the existing customs, rituals etc. on thetouchstone of Human Rights. Here judiciary can play a positive role but with due respect to religious feelings.
  • Implement laws and agreements like ICCPR, Protection of human rights, Prevention of atrocities against SC ST etc. with full letter and spirit.
  • Dalit capitalism, check on extra judicial bodies like Khaps etc.
  • Economic empowerment of Dalit through education and ownership of land and capital.

Conclusion

Caste system is a terrible anomaly of society which became more prevalent over time. It is the strong enemy of the concept of social justice mentioned in the Indian Constitution and causes economic, social damage to the country from time to time. Undoubtedly, along with the government, it is the responsibility of the common man, religious leaders, politicians, and civil society to resolve this discrepancy as soon as possible.

Value addition

Caste system is the bane for the Indian society:

  • Segmental division of society:It means that social stratification is largely based on caste. Membership to a caste group is acquired by birth, on the basis of which people are ranked in relative to other caste groups.
  • Hierarchy:It indicates that various castes are categorized according to their purity and impurity of occupations.
  • Civil and religious disabilities:Example, lower caste groups had no access to wells, they were restricted from entering temples etc.
  • Endogamy: Members of a particular caste have to marry within their caste only. Inter caste marriages are prohibited.
  • Untouchability: It is the practice of ostracizing a group by segregating them from the mainstream by social custom.
  • Hindered national unity:The caste system and religion developed a parochial feeling and made the people unduly conscious of their own castes/religion.
    • Many a time caste/communal interests were given priority over national interest.
    • Thus the whole system stood against the very concept of national unity.
  • Hinders democracy: Democracy presupposes human equality, but the caste system believed in inequality and there was a hierarchical arrangement.
    • Today caste has manifested into a subject to gain political benefits, like reservation in educational colleges, government jobs etc.
  • Lowered women’s status: The practice of Sati, child marriage etc  were result of caste system. Women were treated as second-class citizens. This patriarchal behaviour is still prevalent today.
  • Violence and conflict: Dalit atrocities, sexual assault on lower caste women etc are result of such discrimination and exploitation which are in turn a result of caste and communal identities deeply entrenched in Indian society

The evil face of Caste System:

  • Manual scavenging: Manual scavenging eventually became a caste-based occupation, which involves the removal of untreated human excreta from bucket toilets or pit latrines. It has been officially abolished by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013.
  • Caste based violence in India: Increasing trend of caste based violence are related to instances of inter-caste marriage and assertion of basic rights by Dalits including landrights, freedom of expression, access to justice, access to education etc.
  • Dalit violence: Increasing trend of caste-based violence are related to instances of inter-caste marriage and assertion of basic rights by Dalits including land rights, freedom of expression, access to justice, access to education etc.
    • A group of Dalits were attacked in Una, Gujarat when they had participated in the movement for demand of land ownership for the Dalits.
    • Hathras Gang rape of a Dalit womanwas touted as caste based violence.
  • Jati Panchayat: The status of each caste is carefully protected, not only by caste laws but also by the conventions. These areopenly enforced by the community through a governing body or board called Jati Panchayat.
  • The Concept of Purity and Pollution: The higher castes claimed to have ritual, spiritual and racial purity which they maintained by keeping the lower castes away through the notion of pollution. The idea of pollution means a touch of lower caste man would pollute or defile a man of higher caste.
  • Restriction on Food and Drink: Usually a caste would not accept cooked food from any other caste that stands lower than itself in the social scale, due to the notion of getting polluted.
  • The caste system is a check on economic and intellectual advancement and a great stumbling block in the way of social reforms
  • It undermines the efficiency of labour and prevents perfect mobility of labour, capital and productive effort
  • It perpetuates the exploitation of the economically weaker and socially inferior castes, especially the untouchables.
  • Inflicted untold hardships on women through its insistence on practices like child-marriage, prohibition of widow-remarriage, seclusion of women
  • Caste conflicts are widely prevalent in politics, reservation in jobs and education, inter-caste marriages etc.

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

3. Delayed census data stalls progress towards sustainable development and exacerbates inequalities. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Census data are essential for many purposes, including the implementation of welfare schemes.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about benefits of collecting census data and impact of delayed census.

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 context of census in India.

Body:

In the first part, discuss the advantages of census – essential for planning the provision of health care, education, employment, etc, helpful in the debate related to reservation policy, targeted poverty reduction programmes etc

Next, Discuss the limitations of not conducting census – inefficient resource allocation, outdated policies, inadequate urban planning, overlooked vulnerable populations, and compromised public health and emergency responses etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. Census provides information on size, distribution, socio-economic, demographic and other characteristic of countries population.

The Census was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872. It helped in framing new policies, government programs to uplift areas of improvement in the community. The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881Every ten years: Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.

Study of India’s experience under colonial rule by Dylan Sullivan and Jason Hickel concludes that data from the Census of India reveal that between 1880 and 1920 approximately 100 million Indians died due to British policy in India.

Without a reliable and dynamic database, governments will find it hard to reach the poorest of households in need of state support. They will have to either rely on extra-official agents to help identify the poorest lot, or devise quasi-universal schemes to cut down exclusion errors.

Body

Need for census

  • The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
  • The data collected through the census are used for administration, planning and policy making as well as management and evaluation of various programmesby the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.
  • Census data is also used for demarcation of constituencies and allocation of representation to parliament, State legislative Assemblies and the local bodies.
  • Researchers and demographers use census data to analyze growth and trends of population and make projections.
  • The census data is also important for business houses and industries for strengthening and planning their business for penetration into areas, which had hitherto remained, uncovered.

Importance of Census

  • Utility in Administration and Policy
    • The population census provides the basic data for administrative purposes. One of the most basic of the administrative uses of census data is in the demarcation of constituenceis and the allocation of representation on governing bodies. Detailed information on the geographic distribution of the population is indispensable for this purpose. The Census also gives information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the population at the district level.
  • Utility of Census data for Research Purposes:
    • The population census provides indispensable data for scientific analysis and appraisal of the composition, distribution and past and prospective growth of the population.
  • Utility of Census data in Business and Industry:
    • The census data has many important uses for individuals and institutions in business and industry. It is very difficult to make a full assessment of the multiplicity of ways in which trade and business make use of the census data.
  • Census as frame for Sample Surveys:
    • The rapidity of current changes in the size and other characteristics of populations and the demand for additional detailed data on social and economic characteristics which are not appropriate for collection in a full-scale census, have brought about the need for continuing programmes of intercensal sample surveys to collect current and detailed information on many topics which are usually investigated at ten-year intervals in the population censuses.
  • Utility of Census data in Planning:
    • The census data is indispensable for social and economic planning of the Country. The Planning Commission utilises the Census data on the distribution of population by age, sex classified by rural and urban regions, cities, town areas and social groups to analyse the growth of consumer demand and savings in the process of development.
  • Utility of Population Census to Electoral Rolls:
    • Some countries have taken advantage of the enumeration for a population census to collect, at the same time, information needed for the establishment of electoral rolls. This procedure is not generally advisable because of the deleterious effect the secondary purpose might have on the quality of the census results.
  • Utility of Population Census to other types of Censuses:
    • Certain information collected as part of a population census, or incidential to it, can be most useful in conducting and/or utilizing the results of housing, agricultural or establishment censuses taken at about the same time or near about as the population census.
  • Utility of population census to civil registration and vital statistics:
    • Census data serve as denominators for the computation of vital rates, especially rates specific for characteristics normally investigated only at the time of the census.

Challenges and Experiences:

  • Cost of Conducting Census
    • One of the biggest challenges associated with conducting census in poor countries is the enormous financial costs of conducting the exercise. It is no secret that it is extremely costly to conduct a census.
  • High Illiteracy Rate in a Nation has a Negative Impact on the Conducting of Census
    • Countries with large proportions of their populations being illiterates face a great challenge during the conducting of censuses.
  • Inadequate Infrastructural Facilities in Certain Areas
    • There are certain places in the world where it is very difficult undertaking efficient population census because of poor infrastructural facilities such as bad roads, inaccessible roads or insufficient roads that connect various towns and villages.
  • Traditional and Religious Beliefs can Interfere with the Census Exercise
    • In many underdeveloped parts of the world where traditional beliefs are the order of the day, census officers face serious challenges when they reach these places and try counting the people.
  • Corruption Interferes with Census
    • Corruption during census can make it difficult to have an efficient population census exercise that provides accurate population figures.
  • Insufficient Census Experts
    • Another problem associated with conducting censuses in certain parts of the world is the insufficient number of professionals with the knowledge and experience of conducting census.
  • Insufficient and Ineffective Census Educational Campaign
    • How effective an educational campaign on census is prior to the census taking place determines how successful the census exercise eventually becomes.
  • Poor Demographic Maps
    • Because of demographic maps that aren’t reliable, it becomes very difficult for the authorities to know all the remote areas (especially the very remote areas) in the country and go there to conduct the census exercise.

Way forward

  • Census data is first time being collected by mobile hence specific training should be given to the collectors
  • Also public must be aware about the methodology
  • Method must be developed to tackle the problem faced in earlier phases

Conclusion

Census is a major pillar for development and hence, Centre, States as well as local bodies must help for smoother process of Collection of data.

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

4. The G-7 (Group of Seven), faces an evolving landscape that necessitates a reassessment of its purpose and must adapt to contemporary global challenges. Examine. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Welcoming leaders of 10 countries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the “G-7 Outreach” Summit, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said it was important to step away from the old trope of the “West vs the Rest”.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various changes needed in G7 to adapt to changing geopolitics of the current times.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, in brief, write about aims and objectives of G-7.

Next, write about the major challenges G-7 faces in the current times – global instability, Geopolitical tensions, non-traditional security threats, rise of emerging economies like China and India, Climate Change etc.

Next, write about the steps that G-7 should take in this regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The G-7 is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies—the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom (UK).

Welcoming leaders of 10 countries including Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the “G-7 Outreach” Summit, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said it was important to step away from the old trope of the “West vs the Rest”.

Body

The primary objectives of G-7 are:

  1. Global Economic Governance:
    • Coordinating economic policies to promote stability, growth, and financial resilience.
    • Addressing trade, investment, and monetary issues.
  2. International Security:
    • Discussing geopolitical challenges, arms control, and regional conflicts.
    • Promoting peace and stability.
  3. Multilateral Cooperation:
    • Supporting multilateral institutions and rules-based international order.
    • Advocating for human rights, democracy, and social progress.

Major Challenges Faced by G-7

  • Global Instability:
    • Ongoing conflicts (e.g., Ukraine, Gaza) threaten peace and security.
    • Economic uncertainties, food crises, and energy shortages exacerbate instability.
  • Geopolitical Tensions:
    • Relations with Russia remain strained due to its actions in Ukraine.
    • China’s rise poses economic, political, and security challenges.
  • Non-Traditional Security Threats:
    • Cybersecurity threats, terrorism, and pandemics (e.g., COVID-19) require collective responses.
    • Ensuring global health security is critical.
  • Emerging Economies:
    • China and India’s influence grows, impacting global governance.
    • Balancing cooperation and competition with emerging powers is essential.
  • Climate Change:
    • Urgent action needed to mitigate climate risks.
    • G-7 must lead by example in adopting sustainable practices.

Measures needed for G-7

  • Unity and Coordination:
    • Strengthen collective resolve to address common challenges.
    • Coordinate policies on Russia, China, and other critical issues.
  • Support Ukraine and Gaza:
    • Provide humanitarian aid, economic assistance, and security support.
    • Promote dialogue and de-escalation.
  • Invest in Sustainable Infrastructure:
    • Counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative with a transparent, sustainable alternative.
    • Boost infrastructure investment in developing countries.
  • Debt Relief and Economic Resilience:
    • Address debt burdens in vulnerable countries.
    • Enhance economic resilience through investment and financial stability.
  • Climate Action:
    • Commit to ambitious climate targets.
    • Support green technologies, renewable energy, and climate adaptation.

Way Forward

  • Inclusive Partnerships:
    • Engage with non-G-7 countries, including China and India.
    • Foster dialogue and cooperation on shared challenges.
  • Human Rights and Democracy:
    • Uphold democratic values and human rights.
    • Promote transparency, accountability, and good governance.
  • Global Health Preparedness:
    • Strengthen pandemic response mechanisms.
    • Collaborate on vaccine distribution and health infrastructure.
  • Resilient Supply Chains:
    • Diversify supply chains to reduce vulnerabilities.
    • Ensure critical goods’ availability during crises.
  • Youth and Education:
    • Invest in education, skills development, and youth empowerment.
    • Prepare future generations for global challenges.

Conclusion

the G-7 must adapt to a changing world, prioritize collective action, and lead by example. By addressing these challenges, the G-7 can contribute to a more stable, prosperous, and sustainable global order.

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

5. Debt instruments play a crucial role in the global financial system by providing various entities with access to capital markets to finance their operations and investments. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about various types of debt instruments available in the Indian market.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining a debt instrument.

Body:

Write about the various type of debt instruments – government securities, corporate bonds, debentures, commercial papers, certificates of deposit, and money market instruments. Explain them in brief with suitable examples and the role they play in the economy.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising their importance.

Introduction

A debt instrument is a fixed-income asset that allows the lender (or giver) to earn a fixed interest on it besides getting the principal back while the issuer (or taker) can use it to raise funds at a cost. Debt acts as a legal obligation on the issuer (or taker) part to repay the borrowed sum along with interest to the lender on a timely basis. A debt instrument can be in paper or electronic form.

Body

Types of Debt Instruments

Government Securities (G-Secs)

  • They are the supreme securities issued by the Reserve Bank of India, on behalf of the Government of India and in lieu of the market borrowing program of the Central Government.
  • G-Secs are issued at a face value with no default risk since they carry a sovereign guarantee. Due to its high liquidity, it can be sold by investors in the secondary market.
  • G-Secs can also be redeemed at its face value on maturity with no tax deducted at source. The maturity of these securities ranges from 2-30 years.
  • Treasury bills or T-bills are issued only by the central government of India. They are short-term money market instruments, which means that their maturity period is less than 1 year. Treasury bills are currently issued with three different maturity periods: 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days.
  • Cash Management Bills (CMBs) are relatively new to the Indian financial market. They were only introduced in the year 2010 by the government of India and the Reserve Bank of India. CMBs are also zero-coupon securities and are very similar to Treasury bills. However, the maturity period is the one major point of difference between the two types of government securities. Cash Management Bills (CMBs) are issued for maturity periods less than 91 days, making them an ultra-short-term investment option. CMBs are strategically used by the government of India to meet any temporary cash flow requirements. From the investor’s point of view, Cash Management Bills can be used to meet short-term goals.
  • Dated G-Secs are also among the different types of government securities in India. Unlike Tbills and CMBs, G-Secs are long-term money market instruments that offer a wide range of tenures, starting from 5 years and going all the way up to 40 years. These instruments come with either a fixed or a floating interest rate, also known as the coupon rate.
  • State Development Loans are issued only by the state governments of India to fund their activities and to satisfy their budgetary needs. These types of government securities are very similar to dated G-Secs. They support the same repayment methods and come with a wide range of investment tenures.

Debentures

  • Debentures are a certificate of agreement of loans given under the stamp of the company, undertaking that the debenture holder will get a fixed return (on the basis of the fixed interest rates) and the principal amount whenever the debenture matures.
  • Debentures are issued by the company to raise medium and long-term funds and are not backed by any security
  • They form part of the company’s capital structure, and reflect on the balance sheet but are not clubbed with the share capital.
  • It is generally a long-term debt instrument commonly used by governments and large companies to obtain funds.
  • As debentures are not backed by any security, it carries an advantage by not putting any burden of the asset on the issuer and thereby allowing subsequent financing.

Bonds

  • A bond is an IOU in which the investor agrees to lend money to a company or government in exchange for a predetermined interest rate. They are generally issued by large companies, central bank and government and are backed by a security.
  • Bonds also ensure payment of fixed interest rates to the lenders of the money. On maturity of the bond, the principal amount is paid back. Bonds essentially work the way loans do.
  • When a company wants to expand, it can borrow money by issuing bonds at different rates and then selling them to the public.
  • As bonds ensure payment of fixed interest rates along with the principal amount to the lenders, it can be said that they work the way loans do.
  • There are various types of bonds, having different features and characteristics. For example, Government bonds, Institutional bonds, Corporate Bonds, and Municipal Bonds.

Mortgage

  • A mortgage is a loan against a residential property that is secured by the collateral of specified real estate property.
  • The borrower is obliged to pay back with a predetermined set of payments, in which failure to do so can lead to seizing of the property and selling it off to recover the loaned amount.
  • The most well-known mortgages are a 30-year fixed and a 15-year fixed. They can be as short as five years and as long as 40 years.
  • However, stretching payments over more years reduces the monthly amount to be paid but also increases the amount of interest to pay.

Fixed deposits

  • Fixed deposits also known as term deposits or FDs are money deposited in a bank for a specific time, earning a fixed rate of interest.
  • The interest on the money deposited is paid by the banks. Due to its nature of high liquidity, a depositor can make a premature withdrawal or break the FD by paying a penalty.
  • By doing so, the depositor will be given 1% less interest on withdrawal. Fixed Deposits offer fixed and guaranteed returns.
  • They are flexible in nature as their duration of maturity ranges from 1 month to 10 years. It also gives the ease to raise a loan against it, and also one can even invest small amounts in an FD.
  • However, a few drawbacks of FDs are that returns are lower as compared to other investment options like share and mutual funds, and the interest does not cover the rising inflation.

Conclusion

The public or private investors can use the debt market instruments to get fixed and high returns, depending upon the instruments’ features, tenure, liquidity, and flexibility. On the contrary, large business corporations, governments, banks, and other financial institutions can use these debt instruments for the expansion of their activities and also reach their short-term and long-term goals.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. India’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 shows positive strides, yet requires targeted actions to address the shortcomings in the efforts. Critically analyse.

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

The world is significantly behind schedule in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in 2015, according to a new UN report.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about India’s performance with respect to SDG’s and changes required to achieve the target.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – 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 giving context about 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be achieved by 2030.

Body:

First, mention the important SDGs in brief and write about the various measures taken in order to achieve them.

Next, evaluate India’s performance toward achieving various SDGs by 2030 and mention the shortfalls.

Next, write about the various course corrections that are required in order to ensure that SGDs are achieved by 2030.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The SDGs framework sets targets for 231 indicators across 17 goals related to economic development, social welfare and environmental sustainability, to be met by 2030.

During the period 2024-29, India is expected to cross the $5-trillion mark and is likely to become the third largest economy in the world. However, by 2030, the world will be approaching the deadline to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Given the present scenario, a number of countries are likely to be falling behind in achieving the targets. The extent of India’s slippages in achieving SDG targets would expose claims of the growth and size of the economy.

The world is significantly behind schedule in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations in 2015, according to a new UN report.

Body

Background on SDG’s

  • The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
  • There is a total of 17 interlinked goals; interlinked because they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
  • They were adopted by a UN General Assembly Resolution in September 2015 (Agenda 2030).
  • Through the resolution, the global leaders pledged to set the world on a new trajectory to deliver meaningful progress for people and the planet through domestic actions in the next 15 years.

Current Affairs

India’s achievements in SDG goals

The study found some good things about India’s SDG performance.

  • These include at the all-India level, the one SDG indicator that has already been achieved is related to adolescent pregnancy in the age group of 10–14 years.
  • India is also On-Target to meet 13 out of the 33 indicators, including Internet use, women having a bank account, full vaccination (card), improved sanitation, multidimensional poverty, birth registration, skilled birth attendants, electricity access, tobacco use (women), child marriage of girls less than 15 years of age, under 5 mortality, teenage sexual violence, and neonatal mortality.
  • If efforts continue, India may meet the target of improved water access by 2031, clean fuel for cooking by 2035, lowering teenage pregnancy age by 2039, and partner sexual violence by 2040.
  • Another 11 off-target indicators, including access to basic services and partner violence (physical and sexual), may be met between 2041 and 2062.

Critical analysis of India’s SDG performance

  • India is not on-target for 19 of the 33 SDGs indicators (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations, which is more than 50% of the indicators.
  • Among the 19 off-target indicators, the situation has worsened for three of the off-target goals including those relating to anaemia among women, pregnant and non-pregnant women, between 2016 and 2021.
  • The critical off-target indicators include access to basic services, wasting and overweight children, anaemia, child marriage, partner violence, tobacco use, and modern contraceptives.
  • Off-target districts are concentrated in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Odisha.
  • The performance of aspirational districts is also not satisfactory. Many districts will never meet the targets on the SDGs even after 2030 due to a worsening trend observed between 2016 and 2021.

Challenges in meeting the goals for India

  • Worsening period: According to the Lancet report many districts will never meet the targets on the SDGs even after 2030 due to a worsening trend observed between 2016 and 2021.
  • Financing SDGs: SDG targets like zero hunger, poverty, etc requires significant investments to eliminate them. Being home to one-third of the world’s 1.2 billion extremely poor, the Indian government alone cannot fund these SDG targets.
  • Monitoring & Ownership of Implementation Process: Although NITI Aayog is expected to play an important role, the members of the Aayog have expressed their concerns time and again about the limited manpower they have to handle such a Herculean task.

 

Conclusion and wayforward

  • Appraisal of the policies and programs: India needs to urgently conduct an appraisal of the policies and programs that relate to SDGs, especially those that relate to four SDG targets relating to no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being and gender equality.
  • Identifying and prioritizing districts: On critical indicators of health and social determinants of health, there is a need for a greater degree of precision in identifying and prioritizing districts for intervention. Meeting these goals will require prioritising and targeting specific areas within India
  • Inter-ministerial initiatives: Since the different SDGs fall under tightly organised ministries, there is a need to establish inter-ministerial initiatives, with clear governance structures under the Prime Minister’s Office. Similar structures could be developed at the state level under the respective chief minister’s office.
  • Conduct economic cost-benefit analysis: This will aid in setting priorities and directing more resources to the policy that offers the greatest return for each additional rupee spent. Along with other initiatives, India should also create a strategic road map that will help make sure that the SDGs are met successfully.
  • Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

    7.  What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

    “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”  – C.S. Lewis

    Difficulty level: Easy

    Why the question:

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

    Structure of the answer:

    Introduction: 

    Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

    Body:

    Write about how courage is not just a virtue, but rather the expression of all virtues when put to the test. It suggests that courage is the foundation that enables individuals to live virtuously in challenging circumstances by allowing them to act in accordance with their values. Cite examples to substantiate.

    Conclusion:

    Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you, you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end, requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.

Body

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” It is easy to live your virtues when things are going well. It is easy to express your values when you are with people who agree with you. It is difficult to live your values in challenging situations or when you are with those who disagree with you.

We live in an instant gratification world. We live in a time when “going with the flow” is often encouraged and seeking the “quick fix” is celebrated. Our virtue demands that we live our values – even in the face of opposition. We value diversity of thoughts and commitment to purpose. This requires that we do the work; it stipulates that we embrace the productive discomfort of doing the right thing even at the testing point.

Conclusion

Have the courage be true to your core values in the face of opposition, face opposition with civility and fidelity of purpose, and be intentional at each testing point you face.

 

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